Zelný trh has several connections to the life of Leoš Janáček. In the lower part of the square is located the Reduta Theatre, one of the oldest theatres of stone in Central Europe, where a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave a concert in 1767. One hundred years later a young Janáček performed in operas here together with the other "bluebirds" from the Old Brno monastery. In later years Janáček enjoyed coming to the bustling market on Zelný trh and nearby Dominikánský trh, where he noted the speech of the marketeers from Brno and the surrounding area. He recorded these snippets of dialogue together with a score, which he called speech melodies, from various situations over many years and considered them to be the "windows to the human soul". On Zelný trh he enjoyed studying the shouts of the female marketeers from Líšeň with the typical melody of their Líšeň dialect.
Since 1904 the upper part of the square has been the site of Josef Lídl's firm - a producer and seller of musical instruments. As the director of the Organ School Janáček ordered his school's instruments here and Josef Lídl was also connected to the Organ School through his position as treasurer of the Association for the Promotion of Church Music in Moravia, which was one of 3 the school's founders.
Speech melodies are an expression of the organism's entire state and all the spiritual phases which emerge from it. They show us if a person is either stupid or sensible, sleepy or drowsy, tired or lively. They show us a child or an old man; morning and evening, lightness and darkness; heatwave or frost; loneliness or society. The art in dramatic compositions is to insert speech melodies which, as if by magic, immediately reveal a human being at a certain stage in life.
Leoš Janáček: This Year and Last Year (Hlídka XXII, 1905)
Bill from the Josef Lídl firm from 1903 © Moravian Museum