"Ríkadlo (pl. Ríkadla) comes from the Czech verb Ríkat (to say) and describes a genre of children's literature consisting of short nonsense rhymes, where the humour is based on sound, absurdities and word games.
Leoš Janácek initially wrote 8 songs (Ríkadla) in the summer of 1925 and he obviously enjoyed the process as the following year he expanded it to 18 songs and an instrumental introduction. Each song is inspired by a cartoon from his favourite newspaper: Lidové Noviny (The People’s News), the oldest Czech daily still in print, and Ríkadla is actually the third of Janácek's works to be inspired by this newspaper after a song cycle and an opera.
"The laughable original orchestration complements the tone and content of the rhymes, and this new arrangement sets the work for a small orchestra and choir. The new English version by Benedict Pope was commissioned for this concert and aims to save the childlike element as well as meaning & rhyme from the original."