JAN LEVOSLAV BELLA (1843 - 1936)
The Slovak composer Ján Levoslav Bella, ordained priest in 1866, was associated with the Cecilian movement of musical reform in the Catholic liturgy, later leaving the priesthood to become director of music in Hermannstadt, now Sibiu in Romania, with its then considerable German population. In the following 40 years he established a reputation as a conductor and composer, respected by his contemporaries Brahms, Hans von Bülow, Joachim, Dohnányi and others, and writing music that at times echoes Liszt or Schumann and at times is overtly Slovakian.
Piano and Chamber Music
Bella was fairly prolific as a composer, with contributions to opera, and to orchestral, chamber, piano and vocal music. His string chamber music is strongly in the tradition of his time, as is his piano music. His Piano Sonata in B flat minor, written in 1882, has something of Liszt about it, while other works reflect contemporary trends in the music of Central Europe.