Janacek: Years of a Life Volume 1 (1854-1914)
John Tyrrell’s biography of the Czech composer Leos Janacek is the culmination of a life’s work in the field. It stands upon his existing documentary studies of Janacek’s operas and translations of other key sources and his examination of thousands of still unpublished letters and other documents in the Janacek archive in Brno. Altogether it provides the most detailed account of Janacek’s life in any language and offers new views of Janacek as composer, writer, thinker and human being.
Volume 1, which goes up to the outbreak of the First World War and Janacek’s sixtieth birthday in the summer of 1914, consists of twenty-nine chapters providing a straightforward chronological account of Janacek’s life, and forty contextual chapters. These include chapters on Janacek as a teacher, theorist and ethnographer, and on his knowledge of opera and his relationship to influential works such as Charpentier’s Louise and Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades . This volume also features specially commissioned chapters on Janacek’s health by Stephen Lock and on Janacek’s finances by Jiri Zahradka.