On an Overgrown Path

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On an Overgrown Path (Czech: Po zarostlém chodníčku) is a cycle of fifteen piano pieces written by Leoš Janáček and organized into two volumes.

Background[edit]

Janáček composed all his most important works for solo piano between 1900 and 1912.[1] He probably began preparing his first series of Moravian folk melodies in 1900.[1] At this time, the cycle had only six pieces, intended for harmonium: "Our Evenings", "A Blown-Away Leaf", "The Frýdek Madonna", "Good Night!", "The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!" and a "Più mosso" published after Janáček’s death.[2] These melodies provided the basis for the first volume of On an Overgrown Path. Three of these compositions were first published in 1901 with the fifth volume of harmonium pieces, Slavic Melodies, under the title On an Overgrown Path – Three Short Compositions.[2] By 1908 the cycle had grown to nine pieces, and was by then intended for piano instead of harmonium. The definitive version of the first book was published in 1911.[3] On 30 September 1911, Janáček published the first piece of the second series in the Lidové noviny newspapers. The new series was created, in its entirety, around 1911.[3] The complete second book was printed by the Hudební matice in 1942. The première of the work took place on 6 January 1905 at the Besední dům Hall in Brno.

Structure[edit]

Book I[edit]

  1. "Naše večery" ("Our Evenings")
  2. "Lístek odvanutý" ("A Blown-Away Leaf")
  3. "Pojďte s námi!" ("Come With Us!")
  4. "Frýdecká panna Maria" ("The Madonna of Frydek")
  5. "Štěbetaly jak laštovičky" ("They Chattered Like Swallows")
  6. "Nelze domluvit!" ("Words Fail!")
  7. "Dobrou noc!" ("Good Night!")
  8. "Tak neskonale úzko" ("Unutterable Anguish")
  9. "V pláči" ("In Tears")
  10. "Sýček neodletěl!" ("The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!")

Book II[edit]

  1. "Andante"
  2. "Allegretto" ("Presto")
  3. "Più mosso"
  4. "Vivo"
  5. "Allegro"

Less experimental than his later works, these miniatures are reminiscent of Schumann and Grieg, but fresher sounding.[4]

Arrangements[edit]

In addition to the arrangements shown below, the entire cycle was arranged for string quartet by Jarmil Burghauser in 1978, published by Bärenreiter, and recorded in 2016 by Quartetto Energie Nove. In addition, six of the pieces were orchestrated by conductor Gregory Rose for a recording by his Jupiter Orchestra.

  1. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: violine and piano
    • arrangement by: Jan Štědroň
    • performed by: vln Yuriko Kuronuma, pno Alfred Holeček
  2. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: cello and piano
    • arrangement by: Miloš Sádlo
    • performed by: vlc Miloš Sádlo, pno Alfred Holeček
  3. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for:
    • arrangement by: František Smetana
    • performed by: vlc František Smetana, pno Jiří Hubička
  4. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: cymbalom
    • arrangement by: Petr Oliva
    • performed by: cym Petr Oliva
  5. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: cymbalom
    • arrangement by: Helena Červenková
    • performed by: cym Helena Červenková
  6. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: cymbalom
    • arrangement by: Daniel Skála
    • performed by: cym Daniel Skála
  7. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: accordion
    • arrangement by: Daniela Wagner
    • performed by: acc Daniela Wagner
  8. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: accordion
    • arrangement by: Ivan Koval
    • performed by: acc Ivan Koval
  9. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: accordion
    • arrangement by: Teodoro Anzellott
    • performed by: acc Teodoro Anzellott
  10. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: accordion and piano
    • arrangement by: Stefan Heucke
    • performed by: acc Marko Kassl, pno Tobias Bredohl
  11. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: harp
    • arrangement by: Chantal Mathieu
    • performed by: har Chantal Mathieu
  12. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: guitar
    • arrangement by: Martin Bresnick
    • performed by: gui Benjamin Verdery
  13. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: flute and guitar
    • arrangement by: Jiří Jirmal and Miloslav Klaus
    • performed by: flu Jan Riedlbauch, gui Miloslav Klaus
  14. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: guitar quartet
    • arrangement by: David Scarth
    • performed by: York Guitar Quartet, gui David Ashworth, Andrew Forrest, John Mackenzie, David Scarth
  15. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: guitar quartet
    • arrangement by: Marek Velemínský
    • performed by: Prague Guitar Quartet
  16. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: guitar, keyboard and orchestra
    • arrangement by: Jan Hála
    • performed by: gui Lubomír Brabec, key Jan Hála, Karel Vágner Orchestra, co Karel Vágner
  17. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: oboe quartet
    • arrangement by: Zurich Oboe Quartet
    • performed by: Zurich Oboe Quartet
  18. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: wind ensemble
    • arrangement by: Ronald Karten
    • performed by: Netherlands Wind Ensemble
  19. Arrangement suitable for: piano
    • arrangement for: string orchestra
    • arrangement by: Jarmil Burghauser
    • performed by: London Jupiter Orchestra, co Gregory Rose

In popular culture[edit]

Some movements were used in the soundtrack for the 1988 American film The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

"V pláči" ("In Tears") was used in the opening ceremony of the 2015 European Games.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Program notes by Dr. David Doughty for the two-CD album of Janáček's Piano Works (complete) played by Håkon Austbø (Brilliant Classics 92295)
  • Helmut C. Jacobs: „Auf verwachsenem Pfade von Leoš Janáček (1854–1928). Die ursprüngliche Fassung für Harmonium, ihr programmatischer Inhalt und ihre Übertragung auf Akkordeon.“ In: ders. / Ralf Kaupenjohann (Hrsg.): Brennpunkte II. Aufsätze, Gespräche, Meinungen und Sachinformationen zum Themenbereich Akkordeon. Augemus Musikverlag, Bochum 2002, S. 39–51.
  • Leoš Janáček: Po zarostlém chodníčku Prague: Editio Bärenreiter, 2006. BA 9502. ISMN M-2601-0365-8
  • Zahrádka, Jiří (preface): Janáček, Leoš : Po zarostlém chodníčku. Praha: Editio Bärenreiter Urtext, 2009. BA 9502. ISMN 979-0-2601-0461-7

External links[edit]