When Janácek celebrated his sixtieth birthday in 1914, symphonic works were still noticeably absent from his oeuvre. It was not until the period of 1914–1920 that he created a trio of orchestral compositions each with an extra-musical program and social or political theme: the ballad “The Fiddler’s Child”, the rhapsody “Taras Bulba”, and “The Ballad of Blaník”. A dramatist at heart, Janácek’s work with extra-musical programming is driven by his need to narrate, and both the form and content of his music are subordinated to the dramatic plot. Extra-musical plots can also be found in the fragment of his symphony The Danube (with a vocalise in the coloratura soprano part, 1923–1925) and in his unfinished violin concerto “The Pilgrimage of a Little Soul” (1926). Janácek’s symphonic works for large orchestra – with the exception of “Sinfonietta” (1926) – are among his most traditional compositions.
In the Complete Critical Edition of the Works of Leos Janácek “The Fiddler’s Child”, “Taras Bulba”, “Lachian Dances”, and “The Danube” have been published. The conducting scores and orchestral parts of each of the works draw from this critical edition, as does the recently published Urtext edition of the study score of “Taras Bulba”.
Orchestral arrangements of Janácek's works