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Janáček, wind quintet, Suite for Strings, harmoniemusik


The Harmoniemusik tradition has provided the wind chamber repertoire with a tremendous wealth of literature. Spanning the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, these transcriptions of large-scale works had a formative influence on the creative activity of subsequent composers. Most notable are the transcriptions of operas. Some include more than twenty movements and capture much of the drama and intensity of the stage versions. While the Viennese wind octet with pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns became the standard instrumentation for the properly defined Harmonie, many pieces were also arranged and composed for ensembles ranging from six to ten players. Composers such as Haydn (1732-1809), Stamitz (1745-1801), Mozart (1756-1791), Krommer (1759-1831), Beethoven (1770-1827) and Mendelssohn (1809- 1847) contributed works to the Harmoniemusik genre.

In that spirit, Leoš Janáček’s (1854-1928) Suite for Strings (1877) serves as the basis of this research and transcription project. The project is divided into three parts. First, the background of the Harmoniemusik movement and its central characters, along with the development of the Harmonie ensemble and its repertoire, is examined. Second, an investigation of Janáček’s early life and musical training, up to the years surrounding the composition of his Suite for Strings, offers a context for the origin of the work. A detailed analysis of the suite’s six movements is provided for a better understanding of the piece. Third, the transcription process of transforming the original Suite for Strings into the author’s Suite for Winds (2014) is described. The full score for all six movements is contained in the appendix.


  • A dissertation submitted to the graduate faculty of the North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science in partial fulfillment for the degree of DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS
  • Dr. Warren Olfert, Major Professor
  • © 2014 Bradley J. Miedema

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