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Leos Janáček  Czech composer

Hukvaldy, 03.06.1854 - Prague, 12.08.1928

Janáček grew up in a family which counted many amateur musicians and at the age of ten he entered the Augustine monastery in Brno where he benefited from the teaching of the choirmaster Krizkowsky who was also a talented composer of church music. When he was transferred as choirmaster to Olomouc Janácek succeeded him on the post, but this only lasted a short time due to his feeling of insufficient technical foundation.
So he entered the organ school in Prague which he left rather suddenly after some disagreement with his teacher. So Janácek returned to Brno for a short time being appointed conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Society but he was still not satisfied with his education. Instead he now turned to Leipzig for a year and in 1879 he went to Vienna before retuning to Brno to fulfill his ambition of opening an organ school. It should be noted that the term organ school was in fact what we today would call a college of music.
All the time Janáček had been composing - often getting his works published at his own expense, but in 1886 he found a publisher for his four male-voice choruses which he dedicated to his friend and much admired colleague Dvorak, who admired the power of the works but was somewhat disturbed by Janácek's harmonies.
It is true that
Janáček's music doesn't sound like anyone's else and this is partly due to the region in which he was born. Hukvaldy lies close to the Polish border where the local dialect is some mixture of Polish an Czech. But more important is the folk music here which differs from the folk music of the rest of Moravia and Bohemia in being modal instead of diatonic and this had a major influence on Janácek's musical language.
In 1887 Janácek composed his first opera Sarka without making any great impression and after that Pocatek Románu (The Beginning of a Romance) followed. The turning-point came in 1916 when his opera Jeji Pastorkyna (Jenufa) from 1904 was produced at the National Theatre in Prague. From one day to the other Janácek's name became known - he was no longer an obscure provincial composer but one of his country's famous men.
As this story shows how arbitrary the dice of Fate are cast it deserves to be retold here. A man of literature was on holyday near Brno and during a walk he one day heard from an open window a woman singing some music, he had never heard before. The director of the National Theatre was on holiday in the same neighborhood and together they contacted the woman who played and sang the whole thing to them again. The director immediately asked for the score to be sent to the National Theatre in Prague, but after a first dismissal by the conductor Kovarovich the director insisted and Janácek's opera was performed with tremendous success. 


Janáček's piano

Capriccio for piano, flute/piccolo, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones and tuba  1926
The work was written for WW I invalid Otakar Holman who also premiered the work in 1928. At first Janáček gave it the title Defiance - referring to Holman's decision to continue his career with only one arm, but it was replaced the more neutral and appropriate "Capriccio". There are four movements: 1. Allegro, 2. Adagio, 3. Allegretto, 4. Andante and it was the last work of his Janáček heard being played.

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Hans Jelmoli  Swiss composer, pianist and conductor

(Zürich, 17.01.1877 - Zürich, 06.05.1936)

Hans Jelmoli was born in Zurich into the family of rich and renowned family of the Jelmolis, founders of Switzerland's most famous department store, a firm which is still in business today but began his musical career at the early age of eleven with a number of song with piano accompaniment. After his studies at the Conservatory of Frankfurt am Main,  where Engelbert Humperdinck and Iwan Knorr were his most famous teachers (composition) and the piano under Ernst Engesser. 
From 1898 until 1899 he was third conductor at the Stadttheater in Mainz and from 1899 until 1900 second Kapellmeister and chorus-master at the Stadttheater in Würzburg. After these experiences in Germany he
returned to his native city in the twenties, where he worked as music critic, teacher of composition and pianist, and in his free time he wrote musical dramas, piano pieces and songs. His excellent reputation as a concert soloist, chamber musician and vocal accompanist led to many concerts both in Switzerland and internationally.
Jelmoli wrote a considerable number of works for the stage. Scores of incidental music to Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, to Diderot's Est-il bon? Est-il méchant? and to Georg Büchner's Leonce und Lena and for patriotic plays such as Marignano and for the fairy-tale play Prinz Goldhaar und die Gänsehirtin. His vocal works for the stage include Aphrodite, a Hellenic festival play, the musical comedies Sein Vernmächtnis and Aufschwankem Pfad, and several patriotic musical plays based on legends or historical events from his native town. Jelmoli's instrumental works include suites and separate pieces from his stage works, extracted either for orchestra or for chamber ensembles. Among his chamber works are piano pieces, one sonata each for piano, violin and cello, a piano trio and a string quintet. Jelmoli also composed numerous songs and vocal cycles with piano or organ. 
Jelmoli often used Swiss folk material in his compositions; in the selected songs there are many pearls of the dialect lyrics by Isabelle Kaiser, Hermann Löns and C. F. Meyer, such as the melancholic verse-song Häiweh (Ernst Eschmann) and the Liedli based on a very rare dialect poem of Karl Stamm (1890 - 1919) who in Der Aufbruch des Herzens (1919) developed his own expressionistic language, which is highly opposite to his own late romantic sound world. 
In his own time Jelmoli's choral pieces were  his most frequently performed compositions. Among his arrangements we find a transcription for small orchestra of Mozart's Adagio for pianoforte, KV 540, and the left-hand adaptation of the minuet from Schubert's Piano Sonata, D 894 mentioned below.
Among his orchestral works are Three Pieces for Orchestra from the Lyrical Comedy His Legacy and Reigen (Round Dance, in G major) with the subtitle Ballet music (reminiscent of Tchaikovsky) but with obvious local folk inspiration, with pastoral calls for solo winds framing a leisurely minuet in the style of a Ländler orchestrated for double woodwind, two horns and two trumpets, timpani, triangle, harp and strings. 

(Schubert: Menuett, D major für eine Hand allein - from the piano sonata D 894 )  (Zürich: Holzmann)
Mentioned in Hofmeisters Handbuch der Klavierlitteratur 1919, p.87

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(No portrait)

Aleš Jermář  Czech composer and organist

Prague, 13.06.1929 - New London, Conn., USA, 13.02.200

He first studied the organ with his father, Vitezslav who was a composer and organist, later he studied at the Prague conservatory with J. B. Krajs finishing in 1955. Jermar has giving concerts since 1945, and with Otakar Hollmann he gave the first performance of the Ciacona for organ and piano by Jarmil Burghauser on May 17.1954 in Prague.
Since 1968 he was living in the USA, where he was active as a church organist and composer.

???
Written for Otakar Hollmann

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(No portrait)

 

A. Jiranek  xxx

Born: 1858

xxx

Arrangements for the left hand of Chopin's Études op. 10 no. 2 and 7  (Prague: Fr. A. Urbanek)
Mentioned in Adolf Ruthardt: Wegweiser durch die Klavierliteratur p. 66, Hofmeisters Handbuch der Klavierliteratur 1892-1897 p. 137 and others.

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(No portrait)

Thomas Arnold Johnson  English pianist, composer and writer on music

Neston, Wirral, Cheshire, 1908 -  Neston, 1989 

Eight Little Left Hand Pieces  in two sets.  c.1947 (Lengnick)

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(No portrait)

Daniel Jones

Born: ?

Oh - du mein holder Abendstern from Wagner's opera Tannhäuser  1920 (Shattinger Music)

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Raphael Joseffy   Hungarian piano virtuoso

Hunfalu, Hungary, 03.07.1853 - New York, 25.06.1915

Joseffy came from Hungary and studied first with Moscheles, Reinecke and Tausig - and finally with Liszt for a year from 1870, becoming one of his favorite students. He was a true miniaturist  - with delicacy and poetry, and due to his singing tone and pianissimo shadings he was called The (Adeline) Patti of the Piano. After many years of touring he finally settled in USA - teaching privately and at The  National Conservatory of Music in New York City. 
If you read (and believe) the verdict of the critic James Huneker - Joseffy must have been quite exceptional: Joseffy stands today (1911) for all that is exquisite and poetic in the domain of the piano. A virtuoso among virtuosi, and the beauty of his tone, its velvety, aristocratic quality gives him a unique position in the music-loving world. There is magic and moonlight in his playing of a Chopin Nocturne, and  meteor-like brilliance in his performance of a Liszt concerto. Well - Huneker was a man of a rare and special critical poetry - but he knew what he was talking about - and knew it better than any of his colleagues. 
Joseffy also was highly esteemed among his virtuoso colleagues, and apart from envy, jealousy and other mundane things, they are often the best judges.
Many years ago a Russian painter, Ilya Glazunov, visited Denmark and he told me the most wonderful story of musical colleagues: Once he was visiting the great violinist David Oistrakh and they were talking about violinists - in general. Then Oistrakh said: There are many violinists - and then there is - Heifetz! What better compliment can you get from a colleague - and what a shame that Joseffy never made just one record.

Gavotte (1880) (Schuberth)
This is an arrangement from Bach's Partita nr. 3 for solo violin in E major  

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(No portrait)

 

Jungmann

Born: ?

Will O' the Wisp - Capricietto op. 217 nr. 5  (McKinley)

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