Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M. Mus. (Master of Music)

Legacy Department

School of Music


Janáček; Leoš; 1854-1928--Political and social views; Social action--Czechoslovakia--History; Composers--Czechoslovakia--Political and social views


This study examines Janá?ek’s life as a social activist. It seeks first to clarify how he came to identify with the common people, and second, how his political activism became the center of his work as a composer. Janá?ek was a leading cultural figure in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the collective struggle of the Czech people to gain independence from the Germans. In his early years, however, his contributions to this struggle were ill defined, as his social and political affiliations with the Czech middle class betrayed those of his rural and impoverished origins. Consequently, Janá?ek spent the early part of his life in search of a social and aesthetic orientation congenial to his commitment that the Czechs develop culturally independent of the Germans. Janá?ek’s development will be traced from his adoption of the social and aesthetic philosophy of the Czech middle class to his militant reaction against its values in search of those in which he could believe. Janá?ek gradually realized that the common people of the Czech lands were at the core of a culturally distinct and politically independent nation. Works in the years before the independence of Czechoslovakia, such as his opera Jen?fa, the Bezruc trilogy for male chorus, and those based on themes by Svatopluk ?ech (The Fiddler’s Child and The Excursions of Mr. Brou?ek), will amply prove this point, and will be examined for their subject matter in detail.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [71]-73)


vii, 73 pages




Northern Illinois University

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