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Oskar NEDBAL

(*23.3.1874 Tábor +24.12.1930 Zagreb)


Czech composer, conductor and violist

He studied the violin with Endler in Tábor, from 1885-92 with Bennewitz at the Prague Conservatory. There he also studied the trumpet and the percussion with Bláha and the composition with Antonín Dvořák. He played the viola in the famous Czech Quartet from 1891 to 1906 in which other excellent Dvořák´s pupil composer Josef Suk was the second violinist. Oskar Nedbal was very successful as a conductor. In 1896-1906 he conducted newly founded Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He worked as a guest conductor all over Europe. He founded and conducted the Tonkünstlerorchester (1907-18) in Vienna. He returned to Prague after the formation of Czechoslovakia, from 1920-21 he conducted Šak Philharmonic Orchestra. He escaped from nationalistic atmosphere unfriendly towards himself to Bratislava. He worked as a head of opera at the newly established Slovak National Theatre, as a director of the Bratislava radio station and as a reader at the university and the music academy. Nedbal was one of the most talented pupils of Antonín Dvořák but as a composer he focused on the "lighter muse". He rather understood composing as entertainment and relaxation from his intensive conducting activity. He composed many famous ballet-pantomimes and operettas which are written to Viennese librettos and in the fashion of Vienna and Berlin. They are works of fresh melody, musical invention, and colourful instrumentation. He made use fresh rhythms of Czech, Polish and Yugoslav folkdance. His well-known ballets are Pohádka o Honzovi (Tale of Honza, 1902), Z pohádky do pohádky (From Fairy Tale to Fairy Tale, 1908), Princezna Hyacinta (Princess Hyacinth, 1911), and Des Teufels Grossmutter (Devil´s Grandmother, 1912). From his operettas are Die keusche Barbara (Chaste Barbara, Vienna, 1911), Polenblut (Polish Blood, Polská krev in Czech, Vienna 1913), Die Winzerbraut (The Vineyard Bride, Vinobraní in Czech, Vienna, 1916), Die schöne Saskia (Vienna, 1917), Eriwan (Vienna, 1918) or Donna Gloria (Vienna, 1925). He wrote one opera Sedlák Jakub (Peasant Jacob, Brno 1922), Scherzo caprice (1892) for orchestra, and few piano works - Lettres intimes, 4 Pieces, Pohádka o smutku a štěstí (Fairy Tale about Grief and Joy, 1906). He died in Zagreb where he committed suicide by jumping from a window of the Opera House on December 24th 1930.

Links http://www.divadlotabor.cz


Biblography
A. Buchner: Oskar Nedbal: život a dílo (Life and works) (Prague, 1976)
J.M.Květ: Oskar Nedbal (Prague, 1947)
A. Bauer: Opern und Operetten in Wien (Graz and Cologne, 1955)
K.Junk: Handbuch des Tanzes (Stuttgart, 1930)
V. Reittererová: O. Nedbal a Vídeň (Prague, 2005)


Discography

Polenblut (Polská krev)
Iveta Dufkova - singing (1-15), Robert Sicho (3, 7, 11, 14)
Vaclav Hybs and his orchestra

1 CD Multisonic

Valse Triste
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Vaclav Neumann
1 CD Supraphon

Valse triste
Prague Symphony Orchestra, Zdenek Macal
1 CD MusicVars

Valse triste from the ballet "The Tale of Simple Johnny"
(Famous Czech Miniatures)

Prague Symphony Orchestra, Vaclav Smetacek
Recorded in 1973

1 CD Supraphon