Date of Award
Master of Music (MM)
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Leoš Janáček writes in a letter to Kamila Stösslová, his paramour, dated July 24, 1924: “I have composed a sort of memoir of youth” (trans. Tyrell 2014, 53). The piece to which Janáček is referring is Mládí, a four-movement chamber work for wind sextet consisting of flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, and bass clarinet. This thesis examines Mládí, which means youth in Czech, through an autobiographical lens. Drawing on Vincent Meelberg’s New Sounds, New Stories and Carolyn Abbate’s Unsung Voices, I construct childhood narratives for the first three movements of the wind sextet; I refer to biographical details and the composer’s own recollections to conjure these scenes from Janáček’s youth. However, I also turn to aspects of memory considering the distance between the target childhood memories and a seventy-year-old composer, i.e., the re-creation of the past in relation to the present remembering subject. Ultimately, I explore the playfulness of memory in the fourth movement as Janáček charges the audience with the task of remembering a first movement theme.
Eichhorn, John, "Performing Musical Memoir: Autobiography, Narrative and Memory in Leoš Janáček’s Mládí" (2019). Music Theory Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 2.