General information
Title CZDvě písně
Title ENTwo Songs
Title DEZwei Lieder
CategoryVocal Music
SubcategoryWorks for Solo Voice and Piano
Halbreich number21
Author of lyrics/libretto Houdek, Vladimír
Jesenská, Růžena
Parts of the composition (movements)1) Where Have I Been?
2) Why Have You Laughed at Me?
InstrumentsV Pf
Dedicatee Chachalová, Libuše
Diplomatic transcription of the dedication[No.1:] Líbě | Božka [No. 2:] Líbě Zítkové | Božka Martinů
Note on the dedicationDedicated to Líba Zítková.
Place of compositionŽeliv
Year of origin1910
Initiation of composition05.08.1910
Completion of composition06.08.1910
First performance
Autograph deposition
Owner of the sourceČeské muzeum hudby
CopyrightCopyright free
References Related writings
Documents in the Library
About the composition

In the summer of 1910 Martinů spent part of his holidays together with his brother František at the Premonstratensian monastery in Želiv, where František restored the monastery's paintings.

[...] It was here that he [Martinů] became inflamed with strong love feelings. At the age of twenty, the troubles with the conservatoire and his own family can sometimes be overcome without great consequences. The crisis that brought the Angel of Death, H 17, into being in early July seems to have been happily averted, for here the young composer unexpectedly met an angel worthy of adoration.

Miss Líba Zítková charmed him. He wrote passionate songs for her until the romance was energetically interrupted by the monastery's brewer, the girl's uncle. These include the compositions Where I Was (to Líba – Božka), based on a poem by Růžena Jesenská (Želiv, 5 August 1910), and Why Your Teeth Were Laughing So Hard (text by V. Houdek, to Líba Zítková – Božka Martinů, Želiv, 6 August 1910) [in Helbreich's catalogue as Two Songs, H 21]. Perhaps also Kiss, My Sweetheart, Kiss, H 27 (words by J. Manin), written after the holidays of the same year in Prague (17 October 1910), could have had a related inspiration. However, this is certainly true of another song dated the same day – About Blue Eyes, H 70 [see the author's dedication on the autograph's title page].

Jaroslav Mihule, Martinů: osud skladatele, Praha: Karolinum, 2002, s. 45 [shortened and added by Jana Burdová, 2024].

The recording of the composition was released for the first time by Naxos in 2014 (Martinů: Songs, Vol. 2 – The Months; Jana Wallingerová, Giorgio Koukl).

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