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TREVOR HOLD has dragged
from oblivion some music
you will not know.

28. Fibich's Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, nos. 377-384



It is welcome news that the missing set of Zdenek Fibich's Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences has at last been found, hidden away in the back of a grandfather clock which once belonged to Anezka Schulzová. It will be remembered that Ms. Schulzová was the pupil with whom Zdenek fell in love and copiously showered with presents of piano pieces. These pieces, all very short -- often no more than half-a-page long -- in simple ternary and rondo forms, constituted a kind of diary of his infatuation for his young pupil (see Nejedlý's Commentary, 1925). The 'reminiscences' are narrative in character (Fibich gives Anezka a counterpoint lesson, their walks and journeys together, etc.); the 'impressions' are more lyrical and intimate (many detailing comprehensively all parts of Anezka's body); whilst the 'moods' combine features of the other two, including a group of poems describing the clothes she wore.

Until now there have been only 376 pieces extant. But another set was rumoured to exist, of such autobiographically revealing character that, after Fibich's death, Anezka destroyed them. As it turns out, the 'lost' pieces are not as salacious as some of us would have hoped, though they do refer to extremely intimate details of Zdenek's domestic life:

No. 377 'I seem to have cut off my thumb'. A cri-de-coeur if there ever was one, the accident graphically recorded in the music.

Nos. 378/379 'Anezka has lost her pince-nez' and 'Ah, she has found them again!' These were obviously intended as a pair: mere bagatelles, 3 bars long.

No. 380 'Where is my laudanum?' An anguished miniature set over a deeply pitched bass line.

Nos. 381-3 'I am sitting in the smallest room'/'Your review is before me'/'Soon it will be behind me'. Clearly designed as a triptych; like nos. 378-9, pithy and to the point and somewhat bitter in tone.

No. 384 'Dalliance d'amour'. The most extended piece in the set, in the form of a moto perpetuo. Towards the end, it saucily quotes Bruckner's cabaret song, 'Mit wem warst du letzte Nacht?' (q.v.)

Fibich plundered the earlier M, I and R for ideas for larger works, and it would appear that he intended to do the same here, for, scribbled in the margin of no. 377 is 'Would make good closing idea for string quartet' and after no. 384 '!Symphony?'.


Copyright © 23 November 2000, Trevor Hold, Peterborough, UK



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