TREVOR HOLD has dragged
from oblivion some music
you will not know.
28. Fibich's Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, nos.
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
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?'
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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