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New Edition of Leoš Janáček's Taras Bulba and Arrangement for Orchestra of On an Overgrown Path

May. 01, 2019

New Edition of Leoš Janáček's <em>Taras Bulba</em> and Arrangement for Orchestra of <em>On an Overgrown Path</em>

A new critical edition of Leoš Janáček's Taras Bulba , edited by Jiří Zahrádka and published by Universal Edition, will receive its Chinese premiere on May 18. The work will be performed by the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Long Yu at the Hangzhou Grand Theater.

This new orchestral edition is based on detailed comparisons of all surviving relevant sources and a determination of the work's formal structure that honors the composer's original intent. The 1918 authorized transcription by Vojtěch Ševčík and Václav Sedláček, from which František Neumann conducted the Brno première and to which Janáček recorded his most extensive revisions in 1927, was determined to be the primary source. Another transcription by Ševčík in 1922, from which Václav Talich conducted the Prague première, represents another source for the new performing edition, together with the first authorized printed edition, the autograph score, and corrections made by the composer.  

Following the Chinese performance of Taras Bulba, Richard Dünser's new arrangement for orchestra of Janáček's On an Overgrown Path will receive its world premiere on May 20 under the baton of Peter Keuschnig with the Ensemble Kontrapunkt at the Musikverein in Vienna. Richard Dünser notes:

“Memories of farewells, love songs and lullabies, bitterness and disappointment, weeping, of a letter that has been finally put aside, …, and a premonition of death – in the motif of the barn owl in the final piece – are the poetic starting points for the compositions [in On an Overgrown Path]. There are no motivic, thematic developments, merely moods, contrasts, stirring harmonies and turns, themes – which, like the rhythms, seem inspired by Moravian folk music but transformed entirely – , and sound, an autobiography in sound, an overgrown path of memories, a path along which the journey began at the beginning of the 20th century and was continued by me at the beginning of the 21st century with my transcription of this cycle into the sound world of a large ensemble or chamber orchestra. The fact that this is far more than merely an arrangement in the traditional sense and rather a (present-day) act of re-composition stems from my deep conviction that for this project (and actually for all instrumentation) being restricted to a level that is merely technical or purely philological can neither prove worthy of the spirit of the original composition, nor create a living work of art. The love of the original work and its composer demands a fresh creative approach to the process.

Listen to Václav Talich's arrangement of the Suite (1937) from The Cunning Little Vixen here:
(Leoš Janáček/Talich/Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen/Bamberger Symphoniker/Jonathan Nott, conductor)

To learn more about Leoš Janáček, please visit

Leoš Janáček 
Taras Bulba (1915-1927)
new critical edition by Jirí Zahrádka
for orchestra,perc,hp,org,str

On an Overgrown Path (1900-1909)
arranged by Richard Dünser (2017)
for ensemble/chamber orchestra,2vla,2vc,cb