General information
Title CZPísničky na jednu stránku
Subtitle CZcyklus písní na texty moravské lidové poezie pro zpěv a klavír
Title ENSongs on One Page
Subtitle ENcycle of songs on Moravian folk poetry for voice and piano
Title DELiedchen auf einer Seite
Subtitle DEein Liederzyklus zu Texten mährischer Volkspoesie für Gesang und Klavier
CategoryVocal Music
SubcategoryWorks for Solo Voice and Piano
Halbreich number294
Parts of the composition (movements)1. Dew; 2. The Lock; 3. Journey to the Beloved; 4. The Footpath; 5. At Home; 6. The Dream of the Virgin Mary; 7. Rosemary
Durata6' 30''
InstrumentsV Pf
Dedicatee Hurbanová, Olga
Diplomatic transcription of the dedicationTo | Mrs. Olga Hurban.
Note on the dedicationOlga Hurbanová
Place of compositionNew York City, New York
Year of origin1943
Initiation of composition02/1943
Completion of composition03/1943
First performance
Autograph deposition
Deposition locationGarches
Owner- private property -
Note on the autograph depostitionTwo reproductions of the autograph and a copy in a foreign hand are held by the Bohuslav Martinů Centre in Polička.
CopyrightBärenreiter Praha
Purchase linkbuy
References Related correspondence
Documents in the Library
Note Lyrics from the Moravian folk poetry from František Sušil's collection. *** Further published by Editio Supraphon, Prague 1971, 1984, and by Editio Bärenreiter, Prague 1997.
About the composition

The Songs on One Page - seven songs to words of Moravian folk poetry - were composed only a year later, in them Martinů again set to music texts from Sušil's collection of folk songs, which, along with the collections of Bartoš and Erben (and the Holy Bible), was part of his library wherever he lived - in France, the USA, Italy, and Switzerland. The seven miniature songs, of which none lasts more than ninety seconds, are named according to the seemingly unimportant outward fact of their size. However, like Karel Čapek in his stories From One Pocket and Another, Martinů used this outward aspect only so that he himself as the creator would recede into the background and allow the almost anonymous beauty of word and music to stand out. The fact that the composer did not conceive them as a contiguous cycle gives us sufficient justification for selecting several songs from each of these two song collections.

Along with Nový Špalíček, H 288, and Songs on Two Pages, H 302, the Songs on One Page are among the gems of Czech song literature of the twentieth century. Quite untypically for Martinů, they were written without any direct commission, but there is reason to believe that the composer wrote them for the purposes of cultural, political, and charitable events of organizations of American Czechs, in which they were indeed performed by the above-mentioned singer Jarmila Novotná of the Metropolitan Opera among others.

Like Antonín Dvořák in his Moravian Duets, Martinů took from the folk songs only the texts and some characteristic melodic and harmonic procedures. His musical conception is completely personal and independent. He bases his phrasing on the rhythm of the text, the bar line are only to serve the performer for better orientation. Martinů once said of his songs to folk texts that he "wrote them when [he] wasn't composing". However, it is not very likely that he wished thus to designate them as second-rank pieces; probably this statement pertains to their experimental (and thus in Martinů's conception unfinished and provisional) nature. In their expressive economy and lack of outward effects, the Songs on One Page are one of the keys to Martinů's late style.

Aleš Březina, Bohuslav Martinů: Selected Masterpieces, © 2001 Supraphon Music a.s

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