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Říkadla


JANÁČEK Říkadla

Ríkadla ‘Nursery Rhymes’

Ríkadla (‘Nursery Rhymes’) is a series of eighteen choral songs with instrumental introduction. Janácek had originally composed eight of the set in 1925, and extended the number to eighteen a year later, adding the introduction at the same time. The instrumentation, which includes that faintly ridiculous but eminently likeable poor relation of the orchestra’s reed instruments, the ocarina, was deliberately intended to complement the risible atmosphere of these engaging ditties.
But it’s all tremendous fun! From the nuptials of the beetroot and the measured hedgerow stealth of the mole, to wind-blown and ripped trousers, and the tragi-comic picture of the cow in the knacker’s yard serenaded by Franta’s grinding string-bass, the world is that of a child distilled through peculiarly Czech folklore and sentiment.

Yet this is not a world spared pain nor the frightening grotesqueries of the imagination—children parade a pet dog whose tail cannot have become entrapped without their assistance, and a dutiful wife ends up in her own soup! And exactly why is Granny crawling amid the concealing foliage of an elder bush? Could there be a mild hint of xenophobia as a ‘German’ beetle fails to own up after breaking some cooking utensils?—‘the cunning German tells such lies!’

The Ríkadla settings owe their origins to the early neglect of Janácek’s first opera Šárka, which remained unperformed until the mid 1920s. Deeply hurt by the rejection of a work based upon one of the most familiar and terrifying subjects of Czech mythology (the libretto was by Julius Zeyer), the composer decided in 1888 to undertake a systematic study of Moravian folk music. The fruits of his discoveries emerged in his choral idiom and, to an extent, are also reflected in the textual content of the Ríkadla series, though as we have seen these were not written until many years after Janácek’s initial exploration of traditional Moravian music. His experiences, in the course of amassing folk music, were broadly parallelled by episodes in the careers of Bartók, Kodály and, on British soil, of Vaughan Williams.

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September 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Ranky Tanky

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September 16, 2017 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

R was…

by Edmund Dulac: Lyrics Pathetic & Humorous

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August 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Rabbit of Seville

Looney Tunes Wiki

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July 29, 2017 at 5:25 am Leave a comment

RATCATCHER’S DAY

THIS DAY IN GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY

On July 22, 1376, legend holds that the “Pied Piper,” a ratcatcher, led more than a hundred children out of their homes in Hamelin, Germany, never to be seen again.

“And so long after what happened here
274 “On the Twenty-second of July,
275 “Thirteen hundred and seventy-six:”

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July 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

Riverdale Lion

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March 23, 2017 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

Read Across America

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March 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

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