The Romance was one of seven pieces of that title which Janácek composed as an exercise for Oscar Paul, his teacher at the Leipzig Conservatory, in 1878–9, and the only one that happens to survive. In the autograph manuscript, which was discovered in 1930 in the archive of the Teachers’ Institute at Brno, it is called 4. Romance (‘Romance No 4’). The score is dated 16 November 1879 and it is evidently the piece about which Janácek wrote to a friend on 17 November that Paul had liked it but thought it too ‘massive’ (‘wüchtig’) for a Romance. It is quite extended, with much careful imitation in the piano and quite a massive climax, but it is likely to impress the listener particularly for its sustained outpouring of romantic lyricism.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010