Leoš Janáček: On an Overgrown Path - Series 1 / Misuzu Tanaka, piano
Live from Britton Recital Hall. / Piano: The Steinway & Sons Model D
0:18 Naše večery - Our Evenings
3:42 Lístek odvanutý - Blown Away Leaf
6:01 Pojďte s námi! - Come With Us!
7:10 Frýdecká panna Maria - The Madonna of Frydek
10:26 Štěbetaly jak laštovičky - They Chattered Like Swallows
12:23 Nelze domluvit! - Words Fail!
14:20 Dobrou noc! - Good Night!
17:26 Tak neskonale úzko - Unutterable Anguish
20:01 V pláči - In Tears
22:37 Sýček neodletěl! - The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!
The first five pieces of the two sets that Janáček called On an Overgrown Path were composed around 1900, for harmonium. The first set was completed as ten piano pieces in 1908, and Janáček then gave them their present titles. The overall title refers to a Moravian wedding song in which the bride laments that "the path to my mother's has become overgrown with clover", and the pieces, as Janáček wrote in 1908 in an explanatory letter to the musicologist Jan Branberger who was interested in publishing them, "contain distant reminiscences. Those reminiscences are so dear to me that I do not think they will ever vanish." Some of these memories are apparently happy, others intensely sad. In 1903 there occurred the central tragedy of Janáček's life: the death of his daughter Olga from typhoid fever at the age of twenty-one. The last three pieces of Set 1 certainly refer to Olga's death: in Czech folklore the owl, sýcek, is a bird of ill-omen (the English title in the published edition is 'The barn owl has not flown away' but Janáček gives a very accurate representation of the tawny owl's cry, whereas the barn owl screeches). © David Matthews