Thursday, October 15, 2015

Three Things: Czech Violin Music

Photo by Peter Miranda 

I don't get to practice my Czech very often, but a few days a go I got a very exciting opportunity to show off my skills. My roommate's violin teacher at the Wheaton College Conservatory was preparing to do a concert of Czech violin music. She connected him with me, because she knows that I am always on the lookout for opportunities to practice and engage with Czech culture. So he asked me to read the Lord's Prayer in Czech as well as answer a few questions and read some things before the concert and in explanation of some of the pieces he was performing. 

I loved doing this not only because I love Czech so much, but also because I go to be The Czech Expert. Do you know that feeling, when all of a sudden a skill that has lain dormant in you for a while suddenly becomes useful and you are The Expert? You spend eleven years of your life learning an obscure Slavic language, thinking that you will never use it outside of the single tiny country in which it is spoken, but then all of a sudden someone needs you. You are the only one who can save the day. You are the Czech-Speaking Superhero! 

Well, that is what I felt like. I told Dr. Lee Joiner, the violinist, that it really was no trouble at all for me to spend four hours of my Tuesday devoting to his concert. I said, "Don't thank me. I will take any opportunity to be the sole expert in a given field. It makes me feel extremely powerful."

So my Three Things series for today are my three favourite Czech violin pieces that I heard Dr. Joiner play on Tuesday. 


1. Jan Hanuš, Chuť Žít "A Zest for Life" for solo violin, Op. 127 (2000): I liked this piece, which opened Dr. Joiner's concert, because I felt like I could feel the scraping and clawing after life that the title evokes. It seems as if the whole time the music is dangling off a cliff and scrambling to hold on for dear life. Unfortunately I could not find this one on YouTube. Darn. Sorry, Peeps. 

2. Antonín Dvořák, Romance in F Minor, Op. 11 (1873-77): This piece was just gorgeous. I don't think that I envisioned any sort of epic tale as I listened to this dreamy piece of music. But I did close my eyes in order to let the sounds wash through my ears. It was pure beauty. I think Sheldon thought I was falling asleep, because he nudged me a few times. But I wasn't. I was just enjoying. 

3. Leoš Janáček, Sonata (1914-15): I do not remember why I liked this one. I probably liked it because it is classical music and you are supposed to like classical music. Ahem. You are supposed to appreciate classical music and make intelligent inferences about it and the musician's delivery of it.


  1. Lucy it's great! Even Leos Janacek from our area! That is so nice to hear how you love Czech <3 Love I.

    1. I know he is! That is one reason I especially love listening to him.

      Yes, I do love Czech. To be honest I consider it my home. It is very close to my heart.

      <3 LR

  2. The Dvorak piece was so beautiful! (It's probably even nicer without being interrupted by two small children making noise when they should be going to sleep.) thanks for sharing!

    1. Heehee. I love picturing all your small children making noises. Thanks for your comment, Lisa! Even when they take me a long time to reply to, they make me smile.