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(*23. 2. 1882 Prague — †9. 1. 1969 Prague)

Czech composer, violinist and violist

He studied Czech and German at Charles University and composition privately with Vítězslav Novák. From 1907 he was working in University Library (today National Library) where he founded the Deparment of Music in 1922 and became its first director. He directed it up to his retirement in 1942. His musical output is not large and comprises mainly vocal compositions. He played the violin and the viola in a quartet but didn´t write much instrumental music. Vycpálek´s songs and choruses are composed on the texts from Czech and German symbolist poetry, he drew inspiration from Moravian folk music. Prior to the First World War, there are e.g. Tichá usmíření (Quiet Reconciliation, 1908-9), Dívka z Lochroyanu (The Maid of Lochroyan, 1907, rev.1911), Světla v temnotách (Lights in the Darkness, 1910), Tři smíšené sbory (Three Choruses for Mixed Voices, 1911-12) or Z Moravy (From Moravia, 1910-14). During WWI Vycpálek wrote two series of arrangements of Moravian folk songs: the Moravské balady (Moravian Ballads, 1915) and Vojna (War, 1915). While working on those cycles, he had been specially attracted by the texts of two songs, which served him as poetic material for the Kantáta o posledních věcech člověka (Cantata of the Last Things of Man, 1920-22), his major vocal-symphonic work. His musical thought is primarily contrapuntal, he was attached to the tradition of Baroque music. It is obvious in his sonata Chvála houslí (Praise to the Violin, 1927-8) for violin, mezzosoprano and piano, the Duo for Violin and Viola (1929), the Suites for Solo Violin (1930) and Solo Viola (1929) and two vocal-symphonic works - the cantata Blahoslavený člověk ten (Blessed Is This Man, 1933) and the České requiem (Czech Requiem, 1940), both written on biblical texts.

Smolka, Jaroslav: Ladislav Vycpálek: tvůrčí vývoj (creative evolution), Prague, 1960 (incl. list of works to 1959, list of writings and extensive bibliography)


Czech Requiem
Cantata of the Last Things of Man

Tikalová, Řeháková, Mrázová, Šrubař, Mráz
Czech Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra, Karel Ančerl

2 CD Supraphon