On the Shore - Leoš Janáček

Leoš Janáček's On the Shore is a solo piano piece that was first published in 1928. It is the only solo piano piece ever written by the Czech composer and is known for its slow but powerful melodic theme. The piece has been praised for its richly romantic, dream-like lyrical qualities.

History of On the Shore

On the Shore was written by Leoš Janáček in 1928 as his only piece of solo piano music. It was written at a time of great turmoil in the composer's personal life, following the death of his daughter.

The piece was first performed by Eduard Dvořák in June 1928 at the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague, and was well received by the audience. Dvořák gave the piece its Czech title 'Na Hradbe', which roughly translates to 'On the Shore'.

In subsequent years, On the Shore has been performed by many of the world's leading pianists, including Evgeny Kissin and Lang Lang. The piece has been recorded numerous times, with recordings by Frederick Kempff in the 1960s, Martha Argerich in the 1990s and András Schiff in 2001.

Analysis of On the Shore

The musical structure of On the Shore is relatively simple, with a slow, wavelike melodic line. The piece is written in a traditional ternary form (A - B - A) and is in the key of A minor. The melody is heavily chromatic in nature, with frequent modulations and a sense of 'sighing' or 'longing'.

The piece has a rich harmonic structure with frequent chord changes and dissonant sonorities. The part writing is also quite elaborate and includes multiple contrapuntal lines, as well as some unusual chromatic passages in the bass line.

Popularity of On the Shore

On the Shore is one of Leoš Janáček's most popular and enduring compositions. The piece's unique combination of romanticism and dissonance has appealed to many pianists over the years, and it is often considered one of the most beautiful pieces of solo piano music ever written.

In addition to its popularity within the classical music world, On the Shore has also been used in a number of films, television shows and commercials. It was prominently featured in the 2002 film 'Frida' and again in the 2016 drama 'Lion'.


Leoš Janáček's On the Shore is a beautiful and powerful solo piano piece that has been performed and recorded numerous times by many of the world's leading pianists. It has become one of the composer's most beloved works and continues to captivate audiences around the world.

Publication date: 28. 02. 2023