Piano Music

In Janácek‘s home. Drawing by Andrea Tachezy, taken from: Peter Graham, „Subversive Etudes“, BA 9585

Janácek’s compositions for solo piano are few in the count but great in importance, rightly considered one of the pillars of twentieth-century piano literature. All of his repertoire piano pieces were written in the period of 1900–1912: the cycle “On an Overgrown Path”, the sonata “1.X.1905”, and the cycle In the Mists. These three great piano works have been published in meticulously engraved Bärenreiter Urtext editions based on the Critical Complete Edition with prefaces by Jirí Zahrádka, who comments on and explains the editorial difficulties of the works. Janácek’s piano works were recorded as published in Bärenreiter Urtext editions by the prominent Czech pianist Ivo Kahánek (Supraphon).

Some of Janácek’s lesser-known piano compositions are also about to be published in Bärenreiter Urtext editions. A compilation of both early pieces and late miniatures is being prepared by the editor Ondrej Pivoda. Under the title of “Selected Piano Works”, they are planned to be published in October 2018.

Janácek did not compose a single piano concerto. But he revisited the piano in the last, compositionally most fruitful years of his life. In close proximity of such masterpieces as the wind sextet “Youth”, the “Sinfonietta”, and the “Glagolitic Mass”, he produced two concert pieces for piano: Concertino (1925) for piano and chamber orchestra and “Capriccio” (1926) for piano left hand and wind ensemble.

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