Salon “Czechs” Out Janácek, Suk, Smetana

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The trailing off of one’s final years, the realization that one is indeed mortal and that one is closer to the end than they are to the beginning – the acknowledgement of those facts, or better still the resignation to them, has perhaps more than anything else been one of the key inspirations in music. And in some composers, their twilight years are often the backdrop for a profound change in their idiom.

Beethoven, Liszt and Shostakovich are just a few of the composers whose respective idioms underwent a marked transformation, usually toward the grotesque, the morbid, the otherworldly, the misanthropic. But for the Czech composer Leoš Janáček, his final decade would be animated not only by the most intense love affair of his life – with a married woman 38 years younger than he – but by some of the most vibrant, joyful, ebulliently youthful music anybody ever composed.

His “String Quartet No. 1,” which takes its inspiration from Tolstoy’s novella “The Kreutzer Sonata,” will be the centerpiece of Le Salon de Musiques’ Nov. 9 concert that will include music by fellow Czechs Bedrich Smetana and Josek Suk. The music of Englishman Herbert Howells will open the program.

The concert will take place on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m. on the fifth floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. General admission tickets are $75, student tickets are $39. To buy tickets and obtain more information, visit or call (310) 498-0257.

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