Tuesday, May 19, 2015

List of Janáček's music used in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", a film by Philip Kaufman

This film is based on Milan Kundera's novel of the same title. Scine Leos Janáček is Kundera's favorite composer, it is not surprising that Janáček's music is used throughout the film. Here is a list I compiled, admittedly with some efforts.

- Pohádka (Fairy tale) for Cello and Piano (1910), 3rd movement. (This is used in the opening scene and throughout the film, in order to give the film a sense of fairy tale, as Kaufman remarked.)

- Idyll (for string orchestra, 1888), 5th movement

- In the Mists (for piano solo, 1912), 2nd movement

- On an Overgrown Path (for piano solo, 1900-1912)
 ** Book I: 2. A Blown-away leaf, 7. Good night!,  10. The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!
 ** Book II, 4th movement

- Sonata for Violin and Piano (1914, revised 1921), 4th movement

- String Quartet No. 1 "Kreutzer Sonata" (1923), 3rd movement

- String Quartet No. 2 "Intimate Letters" (1928), 4th movement

(Of course, there is a Czech version of The Beatles' "Hey Jude" sung in film by Marta Kubisová, during its depiction of Prague Spring. There is also some folk and dance music.)

Corrections and additions are most welcome!

N.B. This also appears as an Amazon review.


  1. What is the band music playing at the spa?

  2. It's been a while since I watched the film, so I am not sure if I remember the music you are referring to. If it is not Janáček's music, then it is probably some Czech folk and dance music, which I am not well versed in. Sorry I cannot be more helpful.