of Act II
begins with a scowl
a few repetitions, dissolves into the love
motif No. 164 in a soft, warm and tender orchestration.
Again comes another forceful passage, the
more of the abrupt No. 174 (in a whole-tone
scale): balanced by a further presentation
of the serene love theme.
When the curtain
rises, we see the Splendid-One with the orchestra
declaiming his forceful No. 175-later his
impatient No. 174 for as Director of the Lunar
Art Centre, he is expected to have a bit of
He is orchestrating
a score-the love motif on a solo violin but
as apparently his music calls for violent
contrasts, the next phrase must go on a bombardon,
so the brass obligingly rasps out No. 175.
"confession" to the audience begins
with another, but much less bombastic unison
song No. 176
which is likely
a speech-curve taken over from "Také
prochodil jsem školu", followed
by another speech-curve "Svĕtlo svĕtel!" from
the adoring artists, which passes from chorus
from a harmonized version of No. 176 (A) (with
a semiquaver pattering accompaniment) 
as the Splendid-One expounds his patronage
of the Arts.
its passengers float quietly in with the whole-tone
imitative descending scale, after which several
motifs from the earlier moon-scene link up,
including the bassoon motif (see ) and
the agitated No. 173, etc.
is welcomed to No. 176, while the Child Prodigy
tootles his piccolo. Blankytný, rushing in,
naturally strikes his "attitude"
with the fiery No. 168 and the first of the
entertainments for the guests arrive in a
spirited waltz, whose main motif is a kind
of Scotch snap, No. 177
with an occasional
sentimental chromatic slide.
section of the waltz is a twenty-four-bar
paragraph (four times eight bars), followed
by an eighteen-bar episode over a pedal B-flat:
fourteen-bar section (twice) where motifs
177 and 178 are combined.
stands this exaggerated waltz tribute to himself
for another six bars, and then rudely pushes
the dancers away from him. The waltz rhythm,
however, continues uninterrupted for many
more pages, as the carnival of artists welcome
Brouček in unctuous flattering terms, and
converse amiably with one another-mainly variations
on Nos. 177 and 178.
in waltz time, a solo double-bassoon introduces
the motif of the Moon Anthem, which begins
as a counterpoint to a new amorous tune in
sentimental sixths and thirds, as Etherea
renews her erotic attacks on Mr. Brouček.
She even repeats the words of her fantastic
wooing aria from Act I, to an entirely indifferent
Mr. Brouček, this time to quite different
music, in which the shining Splendid-Oneís
stern injunction to Brouček to kneel down
into the texture in gentle, forgiving tones.
A comic Indian
dance-tune then appears at  amid rolling
rhythms, superseded instantly by "nightingale
"music lilting on flutes , then strings;
next a light, fantastic toe rhythm and lastly,
below a four-note ostinato figure, the Moon
Anthem sways out for sixteen bars or so, until
the anger motif No. 180 puts an end to all
The next item
on the programme is the melodrama of the Cloudy-One
(with the ridiculous statue-shivering chorus
movements) spoken above a further waltz variation
of the Moon Anthem theme (No. 179), falling
mainly into phrases, multiples of four bars.
bored Brouček has fallen asleep and in his
dream shouts for the landlord to bring him
a plate of pork chops, sauerkraut and dumplings!
This creates another diversion which is received
with repressed laughter by the rival poets,
while the Cloudy-One, disdaining to notice
the interruption, rants on with his high-falutiní
poetic effusions (more waltz tunes), even
bursting into rapturous song as he reaches
the climax of his epic.
dreaming happily of the snuggery at the Vikárka
Inn, calls out lustily for another beer, and
the obliging artists cover up this further
faux pas by repeating their Moon Anthem; as
Brouček wakes up, he finds someone "feeding"
him with the fragrance of a flower! (A) of
No. 17g quietly on an oboe , going over
to the violins and developing into a loud
semiquaver arpeggio figure with the artists
reinforced by an angry horn as they remonstrate
with Brouček for his revolting worldliness.
sake! Canít he even speak about his own nose?
((A) of 179 again enquiringly on oboes.) The
music speeds up to an energetic and finely
swinging quasi-mazurka movement, as the artists
keep repeating: "We go! We go!" and eventually
now shakes himself awake from his painful
meditation, and after treating us to a four-fold
performance of his agonizing theme-song arpeggio
wail, he also makes his exit.
A light triplet
broken-chord figure on flute No. 180 introduces
the Rainbow-Man, after which these two figures
as the gentleman
in question climbs down from the rainbow.
Lunar rainbows-unlike the ones we know here-seem
to be built on a good solid physical foundation,
judging by the two heavy brass chords which
alternate with the frivolous No. 181 now heard
on glockenspiel, flute and oboe.
accusing octave leap alternates with the running
triplets No. 180, as the artists look on with
undisguised horror at Mr. Brouček eating a
sausage. Janáček himself puts forward a musically
powerful argument for vegetarianism, when
he writes a splendid passage beginning with
this passionately indignant music
with a bitter grandeur of considerable power
amorous onslaught on Brouček by the madly
infatuated Etherea follows in another waltz
(presto), which reintroduces some of her previous
tunes in sentimental sixths, to a background
of chattering quavers
and its variations.
chords are heard when he lets her have the
full strength of his sausage breath ,
then finds refuge in Pegasus, who is soon
chants his piece from the book of Lunar Aesthetics,
to the more or less same "tid-li, tid-li"
accompaniment, while the lunar carnival ends
with a big ensemble: tenors and basses in
a four times repeated two-bar ditty (wind
doubling voices, and strings in a diminished
variation of the tune) continue with the same
tune in notes of double value as a solo for
Harfoboj with piccolo screaming its head off
in its top octave: after several verses of
this, mists fill the entire stage and blot
out the mad lunar circus.
At  a
solo violin plays the wonderful melody No.
164 ("Love makes the world go round")
and stars begin to glow and the picture of
earth comes into focus. Faint echoes of the
last moon chorus still filter through and
as this magnificent orchestral interlude progresses,
we see again the outline of the Vikárka Inn
and a company of artists leaving the inn with
Innkeeper Würfl bidding them goodnight in
As they leave,
the chorus sing the identical tune of the
final moon artistsí chorus; so perhaps Mr.
Brouček has, after all, dreamed up the whole
Málinka make up their quarrel, and in the
last two pages of the act we hear the opening
comedy motif (No. 161) and the all-important
bassoon solo No. 162.
ends with the lovers singing, in true Italian
fashion, a high sustained unison passage:
"It will not be long till the dawn. We
are alone; I and my love."
Excursion into the Fifteenth Century
Jan Hus was
burned at the stake in 1415, on the score
of heresy. Among all classes and ranks in
Bohemia, he was regarded not only as a martyr
to the Catholic faith, but also as a national
hero, for he was the champion of the Gospels
and other books to be printed and read in
his native language. As a preacher and reformer,
Hus was greatly influenced by the writing
of the Englishman Wycliffe, whose books had
been publicly burned by the same assembly
as condemned Hus. In the same year, a national
assembly defined the Council of Constance
and decreed that it was lawful everywhere
in the country to preach the doctrines of
Hus in the Bohemian language.
split into two camps: the more moderate section
centred round the University of Prague (founded
in 1348, and largely accountable for the fact
that such progressive ideas circulated around
a comparatively small nation) and the extremists
called Taborites (from their chief stronghold,
the hill-town of Tabor) who opposed much of
the ritual of the Catholic Church.
was the hero, Jan Žižka (with Jan z Rokycan
as the spiritual successor to the martyred
Hus), and when in 1420 an army of Crusaders,
led by King Zikmund, arrived to enforce civil
and church obedience on the Prague rebels,
the Husites utterly routed the enemy whom
they called the "Anti-Christ"; thereafter
sacking monasteries and churches and excercising
great cruelties on all who would not immediately
fall in with their newly-formed creeds.
the Protestant point of view, Bohemia was
an avant-garde nation in the great Reformation
movement; the far reaching rebellion and social
reforms of the Husites are considered as one
of the proudest movements in the history of
the Czech nation.
of Act I
When the curtain
rises, we hear voices from above, heatedly
arguing that there are underground passages,
secret tunnels, secret prisons, even a tunnel
under the River Vltava from the Prague castle
(this latter comment in the voice of Mr. Brouček).
you should know, anyway", says Würfl
the landlord ironically; "after your
miraculous flight to the moon yesterday you
can believe in anything!"
cronies bidding each other good-night and
Mr. Brouček protesting that the old kings
knew what they were talking about: the professors
who wrote in their books about these secret
underground passages werenít fools either!
the curtain rose, the stage has been entirely
in darkness: judging by the voices coming
from above, we seem to be looking at some
sort of basement or dungeon, and this is confirmed
when, a few moments later, Mr. Brouček crashes
in from above, having apparently stumbled
upon some unknown underground passage a few
yards away from the Vikárka Inn. Alternatively,
of course, he may have dreamed up the whole
sequence of scenes we are about to witness!
As the light
gradually increases, we find we are in the
Chapel of Karlštejn Castle of King Charles
IV, near Prague: actually in the Jewel Room
with low studded walls and all sorts of semi-precious
jewels set in gold. Around the room, too,
are suits of armour, gold and silver helmets,
belts, buckles, rings: even the stone tiles
are inlaid with gold and silver.
On the left
stands an enormous portrait of King Václav
IV and on the opposite side of the stage an
equally large picture of his queen. It is
still dark when we hear Mr. Brouček grumbling
away to himself about these uncanny goings-on
in the Vikárka Inn, and as he stumbles against
the portrait of King Václav it swings around
and there is our Mr. Brouček time-loaded backwards
400 years and in the Jewel Room of the Karlštejn!
a match, finds a candle to light, and is more
puzzled than ever at what he sees. After fumbling
around looking for a door, he bumps against
the picture of the queen, which gives way
and reveals a view of the Old Town Square
of Prague. To be on the safe side, he blows
out the candle and closes the door after him.
Then a strange
and entirely unexpected apparition appears:
in a greenish light, shining out of the precious
stones, the poet and novelist, creator of
the Brouček historical novels, Svatopluk Cech
himself is seen. He delivers a patriotic speech
taken from the 12th chapter of the novel on
which this opera is based. To understand this
odd occurrence one must take into account
the fact that this opera was written in 1917
when great and small powers were fighting
a war of mutual extermination, when the food
shortage among the Czech working classes was
so acute as to cause serious strikes, and
that one of the co-authors of the "Moon
Adventure", Viktor Dyk, had been charged
with high treason in November 1916. The insertion
of a patriotic speech by Cech himself could
only have an uplifting and beneficial effect
on high political authorities and the general
aria which follows could be compared in import
to, say, Elgarís "Chantons, Belges, Chantons"
and other music of social significance written
long before and since 1916, specially prevalent
nowadays in countries where the social practicability
of art is stressed.
of Cechís monologue are of considerable poetic
value and particularly apt for the occasion,
referring first to the great struggle of Protestants
and Catholics in the days of the Husites,
and drawing comparisons between such dedicated
causes, and much contemporary indifference
to equally great world issues.
O Sun of this Great and
When your golden light made a halo round
the heads of our Immortal Heroes!
Those who won Victory under Vikov are immortalized
Why do you now reproach me?
Have we forgotten your shining example?
Has your spirit of courage vanished, have
we so basely betrayed you?
Are we but sand when you were rock?
Have we lost all the ideals for which you
O glorious Sun, raise our weary hands and
make them strong, as were your hands at
Vikov Hill, ready to fight for freedom,
ready to die for liberty!
Inspire us with your Golden Flame, so that
a poet may praise you and welcome you as
a living inspiration, not simply with empty
words, or as a caricature of former greatness
and sacrifice as I do now.
It is worth
noting that Janáček, an inflamed national
patriot at that period, wished Cech also to
put in a similar appearance in the moon sequence:
on this occasion we agree with T.S. Eliotís
"Sweeny"-"Once is enough".
As the apparition
of Svatopluk Cech disappears, the Jewel Room
dissolves into the Old Town Square in early
morning. Brouček is standing at the corner
of the street, against a background of pointed
arches, gables and towers. At one end is the
Týn church. Brouček is trying to get his bearings,
to figure things out. It is the Old Town Square
all right, but it somehow looks very different
from its normal appearance.
He steps in a puddle. What a mess! All the
fault of the Town Councillors, of course:
he must write to the papers about it. No gas
lamps in the street either.
Then he catches
sight of some people dressed in a most peculiar
fashion but dismisses them as revellers returning
from a fancy-dress ball, or maybe a group
belonging to a pantomime or a circus.
He calls to
one of them who turns out to be no less a
person than a Town Councillor: "Hey,
Uncle! Hey, Uncle!" To which the Councillor
coldly replies: "If thou beist a goodly
man, hold thy peace", and as Brouček
chatters along-"Whence comest thou, varlet?"
you tell me where I am", asks the puzzled
Brouček. But the Councillor himself is at
least equally puzzled: "Thou must be
a stranger, friend. Thou speakest a tongue
we know not. The words that thou utterest
are passing strange! "The audience may
or may not recognize him to be Würfl, the
landlord of the Vikárka Inn, the Splendid-One
of the Lunar Art Colony and now in his third
transformation-as a fifteenth-century Town
Councillor, according to the cast listed on
p. 2 of the vocal score!
wonders if this duplication and triplication
of cast suggested for Brouček and Sharp-Ears
was basically a necessity imposed on the Brno
Opera Company on account of its limited resources
in the early days of its existence.)
do you talk to me in this strange lingo?"
asks Brouček: "Are you perhaps from Bosnia?"
(district of Yugoslavia, the native tongue
of which would sound "foreign" to a nineteenth-century
inhabitant of Prague). The conversation between
the Councillor and Brouček is becoming less
comprehensible and more heated, for the Councillor,
suspicious now, openly accuses him of being
a spy of Zikmund. The curious bystanders who
have crowded round are also of this opinion.
that preparations are being completed for
the battle of Vikov Hill in which the Husites,
led by the legendary hero, Jan Žižka Trocnovsky
(following the spiritual lead of Jan z Rokycan),
will eventually defeat the Popish army of
It is little
use for Mr. Brouček to tell them all this
happened in 1420 and it is now 1888: first,
because they hardly understand a word he says,
and, secondly, public opinion is running high
against any suspicious stranger.
is created when the bagpipers herald the march
of the Husite armed forces, singing one of
their favourite battle hymns:
Listen, knights of God!
Prepare yourselves for fight.
Sing praises to the Lord,
Who shall defend the right.
A more serious
character, Domšík, who, sitting in front of
his house, has been watching the growing animosity
against the stranger, now approaches Brouček,
who thinks he recognizes him as Lunobor and/or
disclaims any such identification, declaring
solemnly-"Godís great day is at hand!
he is in a real difficulty, Brouček has the
wit to "confess" that he has just
returned from a long visit to Turkey and has
forgotten how to speak his mother tongue.
The Councillor and Domšík accept this explanation
and at a sign from them the bystanders calm
thou with me, Matĕj ", says the benevolent
Domšík: "we need many valiant fighters.
Thou shalt help us this day to win a glorious
The army of
Husites has now entered the square and lustily
singing their war hymn, they file impressively
into the Týn Church.
his fist in the direction of Letna, declaring
that the enemy will be in a sorry plight before
this day of battle is over: "Woe to the
enemy! God defend the right! "-
Only the bagpipers
are left at the entrance to the church.
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