Scenes from modern Moravia on Leoš Janáček’s 160th

15 Photos

Celebrating the home of a revered musician

When I’m working with code in the newsroom, one of my top choices for background music is the opera work of Leoš Janáček, a composer from the Moravia region of the Czech Republic. His Lachian Dances are an early example of his penchant for melodies from the area around Brno.

My favorite Janáček invention, which came much later in his career, Věc Makropulos is not exactly full of obvious earworms: The composer intentionally tried to convey the disconnected life of the opera’s three-century-old female lead by avoiding recognizable themes until the end of the work. But the eventual lyricism near the finale is worth the wait, and after 10 or 15 listens, I found myself humming along with even the segments that originally felt like little more than disjointed fragments of tunes. It’s easy to hear the difference between this overture and his earlier work.

Audio of the full opera can be found here.

In a very personal celebration of both this composer’s contributions and Czech culture in general, I felt it fitting to post some images of modern Moravia. Happy Birthday, Leoš!

— Patrick Maynard