Janáček Sinfonietta

The Sinfonietta (subtitled “Military Sinfonietta” or “Sokol Festival”) is a very expressive and festive, late work for large orchestra (of which 25 are brass players) by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček. It is dedicated “To the Czechoslovak Armed Forces” and Janáček said it was intended to express “contemporary free man, his spiritual beauty and joy, his strength, courage and determination to fight for victory.” It started by Janáček listening to a brass band, becoming inspired to write some fanfares of his own. When the organisers of the Sokol Gymnastic Festival approached him for a commission, he developed the material into the Sinfonietta. He later dropped the word military. The first performance was in Prague on 26 June 1926 under Václav Talich. Typical performance duration is 20–25 minutes.

The work is typical of Janáček's tight construction, the material of each movement deriving from the opening motif. It features several variants based on Janáček's original fanfare. The first movement is scored only for brass and percussion. The second movement begins with a rapid ostinato from the wind, but later has a more lyrical episode. The third begins quietly in the strings, but is interrupted by a stern figure in the trombones, leading to another fast dance-like passage. In the fourth movement, Janáček celebrates the newly liberated Czechoslovakia with a joyous trumpet fanfare. The finale begins in the key of E-flat minor with a calm retrograde version of the opening melody. However, this quickly moves into a triumphant finale, the return of the opening fanfare decorated with swirling figures in the strings and wind.

Source: Wikipedia

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