ANALYSIS OF ŠiškovíS MONOL OGUE
of the Dead, Act III)
must be read in conjunction with the Universal
Edition vocal score of the opera: the student
should number the bars beginning with the
last bar of p. 138 (bar number 1) and ending
with the sixth bar on p. 176 (bar number 521).
last bar of p. 138 to the con moto on p. 141:
forty-five bars long.
Similar phrases of three, three, and two bars
in length: all Theme I on three different
chords. Dramatic purpose: to picture the religious
and highly respected landowner.
point occurs between bars 9 and 12 where figure
(A) of No. 1 appears first in F major, then
in D flat major, separated by a link of two
notes (B in No. 2): the two different chords
are associated with the two different voices
in the dialogue between the landowner and
1/2 one bar three times, plus one bar (three
times figure (a)) then a repeat of the first
bar: the extra half bar is (a) of No. 3 (key
F modulating to A flat).
Bar 14 (2nd
1/2)-27 = four repetitions of (c) (No. 2)
(with new semiquaver accompaniment): three
further repetitions on b-cl (allegro) followed
by seven more repetitions (five times on flute,
then four on b-cl) in presto above a tremolo.
to the solid "earthy "music for
the father is the first presentation of Akulkaís
motif -No. 3-simple-hearted, innocent, humble
and sincere. As the story progresses Akulkaís
theme reappears in more expressive, more subtle,
more shaded tones-
Akulkaís theme three times, first in D major
(as No. 3); then in E and A major with the
prolonged. The introduction of the name Filka
Morozov, a name which must be clearly remembered
by the listener if the dramatic denouement
at the end of the story is to be fully realized,
is purposely left unaccompanied. The attention
of the audience is momentarily diverted from
Šiškovís story by the dying Lukaís sighs.
Perhaps Janáček intends us to think that Luka
(who is really Filka Morozov, the villain
of the piece) is listening to the story and
is aware of Šiškovís identity.
the con moto on p. 141 to  on p. 147:
ninety-three bars long.
No. 4 three times (C sharp minor), again three
times (F sharp major) then four further repetitions,
introducing the first variant
repetitions (D flat major) and again six more
(F flat major): the accompaniment consists
of two chords alternating: between bars 52-59
the motif is doubled in length by sequential
No. 5 extended by repetition and variation
to a four-bar phrase with counterpoint on
solo horn: this variation is noted in
At  the
variants (a) and (b) combine in a two-bar
phrase which is repeated: below an A flat
trill Filka abuses the old man. The part of
Šiškov is written for a high baritone: to
avoid a high G here and other excessively
high passages in the monologue, the editors
have given alternative notes at lower pitch.
A softened and more melodious variation of
the brusque Filka motif appears when he speaks
behind Filkaís slandering of the girl he loved
is made none too clear in the novel. It may
be that his pride is hurt when he learns that
her father intends her to marry one Nikita
Gregoric. Perhaps it is wisest not to enquire
too closely into the psychological motivation
of fictitious characters: if they are drawn
true to life, the underlying reasons and emotional
adhesions may be so complex as to be beyond
reason and logic, a classic example being
Iagoís hatred of Othello. This new and more
tuneful variation of Filkaís motif is to be
seen in bars 77-80 with the A flat trill continuing
an octave lower: in that key it is heard four
times in succession, twice as a two-bar phrase,
then-minus the first two notes-twice as a
one-bar phrase. Over dissonant chords of the
ninth, in the shortened form, it is repeated
in phrases of three, two, and five bars, representing
the resentment of the angry father at Filkaís
reflection on the virtue of his daughter.
figure ((a) of No. 7) detached, and with emphasis
on its first note, also denotes anger.
Con moto to the presto: As Filka continues
with his abuse we first hear his motif in
its two-bar form, then four times as in No.
5, then-with rests replacing the first two
notes-thrice in a rising sequence: the treatment
is now forceful and belligerent. Beginning
softly and accompanied by tremolos, it fills
four 8 bars in a rising sequence, getting
louder and broader as the old man collapses
under the cruel, brutal attack of Filka who,
himself dying in an adjacent bed, coughs twice
in tune and time with the minor third of (a)
lengths from bar 94 onwards are 2 + 4 (4 times
1) + 3 (3 times 2 bar in rising sequence)
+ 4 (4 times 1 bar also in rising sequence).
At the presto we hear the swaggering Filka
theme with the same harmonic pattern of bars
46-73 (three two-bar phrases; E flat minor,
F major, B flat minor).
interrupts, asking Šiškov if Filka still kept
up his affair with Akulka (bar 113), Janáček
gives us the Filka motif in a broad augmentation,
with full harmonies and con espressione. When
Šiškov replies "Nepredbihej!" ("Just
wait a bit, youíll soon know all") the
orchestra echoes his speech-curve: he goes
on to tell of Filkaís plan to tar Akulkaís
gate (four more bars of No. 5 in A flat minor).
Strings, flutes and piccolos play very softly
No. 3 the motif of the much-abused Akulka
(121-3: A flat minor). Four sforzando A flat
minor chords as the door is painted: the last
of these four chords overlaps with (a) of
No. 3 where, as a "tense" chordal
one-bar phrase (piano espressivo it persists
from  to  telling us of the shame
and disgrace of the distressed parents (note
of eight bars-four harmonized-four a cappella-as
the sleeping convicts snore (or sigh deeply)
in three-part harmony, of which tenor and
second bass are moving parts (closed lips,
humming "M"). The rise and fall
of the two-bar phrases suggest the outline
of the Destiny motif in a drooping key sequence
of A major, A flat major, E major and D flat
p. 147 at the piu mosso till p. 150: thirty-eight
bars. Until  there are only repetitions
or variations of the Filka motif No. 5 as
the two raucous youths taunt Akulka in the
street: bars 147-54 still retain the original
accompaniment of two chords and between 14954
No. 5 is heard in canon at the lower fifth
as Filka surpasses himself in insulting his
former sweetheart. (Phrase lengths of 2 (1
+ 1 repeated, key D flat major) +3- (three
times one bar with the canonic voice projecting
into the first half of the next bar, key A
flat major) + repeat of these three bars-key
B flat major and Coda of three bars (No. 5
in sequence with figure (a) repeated).)
The gawky, mulish Šiškov joins his blackguardly
companion in affronting Akulka to a coarse
all top and bottom version (a) of the Filka
theme (repeated five times as a whole bar
and twice as a half bar) with the rhythm of
(a) bouncing about all the time. Nevertheless,
Akulka has made an impression on Šiškov for
he notices she has fine eyes (strings gently
sing out the Akulka theme at ).
snore for another four bars. From bar 174
to bar 185 the violins continue to harp on
this same figure, now with a new clarinet
motif underneath (see bars 175, etc.) representing
the motherís fury at finding her shameless
daughter supposedly flirting with the man
who has wronged her and his "buddy".
pp. 151-2: twenty-six bars. Bar 185 introduces
a sly two-bar motif with cushioned chords,
representing the designing mother of Šiškov
"whose ears were stuffed with gold "as
her son says to her at a later point in the
story. The chord sustained from the second
half of bar 186 is the "Doom" chord
from the Destiny motif.
motif appears for the first time at bars 194-6
where it is
first harmonized with a series of first inversion
triads, then as a melody line, repeated a
number of times at different pitches-above
a B flat minor chord (196-9), below a D flat
major chord (200-3) and above an augmented
triad in bars 204-5
to his friend are confined to the voice part.
The sighing chorale of the sleeping prisoners
is heard in the background where the composer
makes the basses hold a long bottom E.
pp. 153-8: eighty-four bars. A steadier 4
version of Šiškovís motif (in MUSIC ILLUSTRATION
rhythm Andante) persists until : phrase-lengths
are 7 (3 + 4 in A flat minor piano) and con
moto in G sharp minor forte, nine bars (3+3+3),
and four bars diminuendo.
bass figure-repeated consecutively seventy-two
times-denotes lassitude, even stupor, for
Šiškov tells us he stayed drunk till his wedding
day. At  we hear an enhanced flowing variation
of the same theme which, over five bars of
A flat minor dominant harmony, prepares the
way for the tender scene between the bride
honeyed love theme heard in bars 236-42 is,
in reality, the top notes of the Destiny motif-
9 with Act I No. 1) showing that, even in
this intimate moment when happiness seems
within the grasp of the couple, the unrelenting
hand of Fate is there all the time, a penetrating
and refined psychological touch which only
a great musical dramatist could conceive!
The phrases here are of two (A major) and
four bars (four times the same bar in B flat
minor) in length.
As the music
continues, Janáček fills in the gap between
the falling perfect fifth (see A of No. 9)
and repeats this pattern over slowly changing
harmonies until another stanza of the sighing-prisoners
chorale appears at bar 251.
While the embroidered descending figure (a)
of No. 9 is played high up on violins, winds
give out the serene No. 10
of the foregoing) in a short Maestoso episode;
at the same time horns and trombones play-very
quietly-the sinister Destiny motif in a low
register. One may take leave to doubt the
psychological truth of the sentiments in the
next five bars where Janáček adds some additional
lines stating that Šiškov found his bride
"tender and loving"-for she will
shortly confess to him that she loves only
Filka, and he is better than anyone else in
the world. No matter, Janáček writes a charming
piece of music, with the motif of the happy
bridegroom No. 10 singing out contentedly
at  below shimmering tremolos on violins.
Note how skilfully
the composer makes the transition to the next
mood-Šiškovís puzzlement as to why his friend
Filka should go to such lengths to slander
No. 10 is
lengthened by one note (see  + 1), then
by two notes (see bar 266), then, broken off
from the rest of the phrase: in the rhythm
of (a) of No. 1 it is repeated many times,
giving the impression of worry, bewilderment,
puzzlement (see bars 268-72): Šiškov pushes
this thought aside (the "worry"
motif resolves on a deep E flat (bar 274)).
There is something
inexpressibly lovely and tender in the music
Janáček has written for the scene where the
husband kneels by his wifeís bed and begs
her forgiveness. The resolved worry-figure
is woven into the melody line here but completely
transformed by the orchestral colouring. The
phrasing between 273-83 is 4, 4 (2 + 2) and
sits on the bed crying, a gentle rocking accompaniment
in D major enters the music (bars 283-8) while
an oboe gives out a short plaintive figure:
although Dostoevsky says that at this point
of the story the bride is both crying and
laughing, there is no laughing in Janáčekís
strain of the snoring chorale is directed
to be sung by tenors falsetto: note that these
six bars are written in the whole-tone scale.
pp. 159-64 up to : seventy-eight bars.
Šiškovís threat to Filka is accompanied by
the new belligerent motif No. 11 (bars 296-9).
and is offset
by the sustained hymn-like Remorse-of-the-Parents
twice (key E flat major), on both occasions
as a two-bar canon at the octave, as though
both father and mother were pleading with
their daughter to forgive them: between the
entries is the Revenge motif of No. 11. At
 the Remorse motif is compressed into
a two-bar phrase (this is done by halving
the time of the four notes marked (a) in No.
12), repeated a tone lower in D flat major.
With the first note omitted in this new compressed
form, it is played by an oboe, above a sustained
B major first inversion triad, as Cerevin
remarks laconically that perhaps the father
was right in thinking he could have found
a better husband than Šiškov for his daughter.
a three-bar phrase with the end notes repeated-formed
from the quickened four-note figure (a) of
No. 12 with further repetitions of the end
as it appears at the top of p. 160, is now
transformed into a second revenge motif (bars
323-9) as Šiškov noisily challenges Filka
(4 + 3) . The four-note figure keeps repeating
itself in the treble, rising higher and higher,
and combines with a triple-time variation
of itself at  with growing excitement:
dropping to middle register it continues twisting
and twining until it reaches a climax at the
more deliberate meno mosso of . (The phrasing
from bar 330 to bar 355 is as follows: 2+2:
Allegro 5 (three times the same bar - where
the two variants of the four-note figure appear
in combination-then an extension of the triple
time figure) + six bars (on the same two figures)
with an augmented version of the lower figure
From bar 345
= 2 + 2 (in sequence): four one-bar phrases
(9/4 and 6/4)-in a rising sequence- with three
more bars, leading to the meno mosso at .
figures are heard fortissimo at , overlapping
with a Thrashing-of-Akulka as the brutal Šiškov
assaults his wife-
One may read
into this many times repeated motif, the recurring
blows from the whip in the two-note bass figure
falling always on the strong beat of the bar,
with the writhing upper voices representing
the tortured Akulka. A subtle point in this
characterization is that the only single-i.e.
weakest-note of the whole passage occurs on
the mid-stressed second accent of the bar,
resulting in a kind of "wilting"
effect. This Whipping-motif runs from 
 to con moto p. 168. The episode of Filkaís
riotous living in Ivanovís house begins with
an unexpectedly mild theme. The evolution
of this conjunct double-third melody in a
swaying rhythm at  into a four-square
march at  is as follows:
form of the motif a three-note scale melody
on top, with an A flat arpeggio triad-in the
same rhythm-as bass.
but in a slightly relaxed rhythm (bars 382-4
transition stage. The melody is now the arpeggio
bass of bars 374-5 with the rhythm of (2)
and with harmonies on each note (see bars
393-4). The bass is now a single sustained
of motifs effected.
(3) in bare octaves, in four-square equal
minims : the bass doubles the rhythm of
the top voice but it, and not the top melody,
is harmonized this time, and falls in line
with the top voice of (1) which, we remember,
was in conjunct motion.
reappears as a love theme at bar 418, and
a few bars later (bar 422) in a particularly
lovely setting in D flat major (oboe, celesta
and strings), as the two lovers make a strange
peace with one another.
is depicted by a fiery stabbing chord preceded
by an angry upsurge (con moto bar 426).
confesses the truth to her husband (bars 433-8)
her motif radiates sincerity, innocence, truthfulness,
At bars 441-9
a motif of suppressed anger appears at 
although, as with the new anger motif at bar
426, it is anticipated in the previous bar,
suggesting the narratorís immediate- reaction
to the changed situation before he has time
to control his feelings and devise a plan
suitable to the occasion.
p. 170 at the con moto to bar 520, p. 176.
two notes of the serene violin and flute melody
(450-6)-imitated on horn and viola-has momentary
development in an exciting six-bar unison
Allegro fortissimo passage.
referred to is repeated, again succeeded by
an allegro (bar 468) octave passage, derived
from the melody, which now exhibits some stamina
(bars 472-8) and taking on the attributes
of the Destiny motif at (bars 479-81).
of Akulka in Šiškovís story and the actual
death of her seducer whom we see in hospital
coincide with dramatic suddenness. Janáček
makes no attempt, however, to musically identify
Luka with the dying convict, as he might well
have done, by introducing one or other of
the Filka Morozov motifs at this point in
his score. Instead, he invents an entirely
new Surprise or Recognition motif (Allegro,
p. 173) which quickly surges up to a big climax,
leaving unaccompanied the crucial words "Filko!
Tos ty?" ("Filka! It is you!").
In the rather
rhapsodic passages which follow, new motifs
may be heard at bars 500, 506-7, 510 and 523.
There is no interruption in the flow of the
music or change in its style when the guard
marches Petrovič away.