, the ‘Songs of Hradcany’, was the result of Janácek’s collaboration with František Procházka; the three songs were provided with harp accompaniment, and a highly effective flute part in ‘The weeping fountain’ at the time of their publication in 1922. It seems probable, however, that the chorus-master Vach had expected a cappella settings of these three poems. Children are at play in the hovels of the ‘Golden Street’; but it is a bitter and sad place, yet, says the poet, the state rooms and salons of the palace nearby are poorer still, with the suggestion that its occupants are blissfully unaware of the begging which takes place before its gates. After the hauntingly nostalgic central panel, ‘The weeping fountain’, this triptych ends with ‘Belvedere’, the timeless memorial to the bloodshed and torment of the nation’s past (‘… all around was Czech glory ravished, crushed by mad fury and ruthless hate’), now strangely at one with its tranquil surroundings—fragrant gardens filled with the sounds of music rather than the alarums of battle.
from notes by Michael Jameson © 1997