Cornel Cyfansoddwr – Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 – Janáček, Leoš

Being unfamiliar with the piano works of Janáček and being a pianist myself, I was eager to experience this piece. I listened to piano sonata 1.X.905, (known as From the Street for ease more than much else) for the first time this morning, and was instantly convinced that I shouldn’t have started the day with it.The piece is heart wrenchingly sad, albeit in a beautiful way. It is based around the rather brutal death of a young man who was supporting a university in Brno during a rise of nationalism and socialism. Even though it was composed immediately around the incident (1905) the piece wasn’t performed until 1924, Janáček’s 70th birthday.

From the Street is in two movements but originally contained a funeral march as a third. Janáček himself however destroyed this movement, perhaps in an attempt to stop his listeners from hanging themselves. From the Street speaks directly from an oppressive and distressing time of Europe’s history and is a piece that should be experience by all despite the delightfully gloomy ambiance it creates. Ensemble Cymru will be performing the piece on the 18th of October in Powis Hall, Bangor University as part of their Fairy Tales and Skittles concert.

Janáček includes this inscription with the piece:

“The white marble of the steps of the Besednì Dùm in Brno [Picture Below]. The ordinary labourer František Pavlík falls, stained with blood. He came merely to champion higher learning and has been slain by cruel murderers” 

File: Meeting House in Brně.JPG