Janacek and Czech music: Proceedings of the International Conference (Saint Louis, 1988)

Janacek and Czech music: Proceedings of the International Conference (Saint Louis, 1988)

Janacek and Czech music: Proceedings of the International Conference (Saint Louis, 1988)

Janacek and Czech music: Proceedings of the International Conference (Saint Louis, 1988)

Excerpt

On May 4-9, 1988, the International Conference and Festival "Janáček and Czech Music" took place at Washington University in St. Louis. For many of us the event seemed to be a palpable chink in the casements of the cold war, since more than a dozen Czechs and Slovaks were able to participate in the event. Such a thing had scarcely seemed possible even two years before, and we were perhaps a little proud of ourselves for having achieved what appeared to be a breakthrough. Little did we know that less than two years later that chink would become a mighty crack and that The Wall would crumble, to be followed by the collapse of innumerable metaphorical walls which had been erected between the United States and Czechoslovakia.

If our rather limited diplomatic aims were soon superseded by far more dramatic developments, we still find ourselves in the midst of a much less monumental yet nonetheless formidable struggle to carve out an international field for the study of Czech and Slovak music. In this sense, the Janáček conference may be seen as part of an ongoing effort which, in this country, had begun with the "Smetana Centennial Conference" in San Diego, directed by Jaroslav Mráček, and which is continuing with conferences on Martinů and Dvořak.

It is hoped that the contents of this volume will reflect the diversity and vitality of this new field--indeed we see a rich array of scholarly styles and approaches. Although the majority of the articles deal with Janáček, we felt that it was quite important to have sessions devoted to Czech music before the "national" period. Within the specific area of Janáček studies, we tried to encourage diversity by arranging sessions on the operas, analysis, the Danube Symphony, and also on the relationship between Janáček and his contemporaries and the larger sphere of European culture. Finally we arranged two sessions dealing specifical-

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