Author Topic: Vaclav Dobias  (Read 3407 times)

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Offline schweitzeralan

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Vaclav Dobias
« on: April 04, 2009, 06:55:21 AM »
Recently I heard the Sonata for Piano, String Orchestra and Wind Quitet by Czech composer Vaclav Dobias. I would presume that he is not all that widely recognized as a familiar compositional highlight among the general public; however, many members of the forum would well recognize his significance in 20th century Czech music.  I recently played my old LP, bought around 1972, Supraphon, to be exact, with the inclusive works of Dobias and of Ivan Jirko.  I haven't heard the Dobias in over 30 years, even more so for the Jirko. I found the Dobias work to be an excellent, chamber work entitled "Sonata for Piano, String Orchestra, Wind Quintet, and Timpani."  The pianism gets quite a workout.  Very original; pre-Modernist harmonic figuration.  Moves at a brisk tempo.  He must have undergone much travail during WW II, and he must have become quite active in socialist politics.  His 2nd Symphony (Czech Philharmonic under Ancerl along with a work entitled "Seven Reliefs" by Burghauser, which I've never heard) is a stern, sort of Mahleresque elogy inspired by the war; not unlike George Lloyd's "shell shock" syndrome.  I haven't heard this symphony in four years, so I'll get on it.  When I was in the Czech Republic some time ago and had frequent discussions  with several people familiar with Dobias and with  classical music in general (high moments for me), I was informed that he was an uncompromising communist.  I don't know if he is still living or what.  I haven't checked the internet.  I'm wondering how many out there know of Dobias and/ o r how composers' works were influenced by war.  The few people I talked to didn't take Dobias all that seriously.  Curious.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 09:19:55 AM by schweitzeralan »

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Vaclav Dobias
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2009, 07:38:39 AM »
I very much doubt whether Vaclav Dobias "is widely recognised as a familiar compositional highlight among the general public" ;D

I know his Symphony No.2 in the coupling with the Burghauser to which you refer and agree that it is a fine work-much, much better than the other piece by Dobias with which I am familar: the Cantata "Build up your Country to keep up the Peace" which is a pretty terrible example of Czech Socialist Realism in music.

Dobias died in 1978 and does indeed appear to have churned out a lot of choral music for "the masses" on demand but whether this was simple political expediency or the result of committed belief I do not know. The Second Symphony suggests that he was a better composer than his posthumous reputation would suggest.

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Vaclav Dobias
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2009, 09:17:39 AM »
I very much doubt whether Vaclav Dobias "is widely recognised as a familiar compositional highlight among the general public" ;D

I know his Symphony No.2 in the coupling with the Burghauser to which you refer and agree that it is a fine work-much, much better than the other piece by Dobias with which I am familar: the Cantata "Build up your Country to keep up the Peace" which is a pretty terrible example of Czech Socialist Realism in music.

Dobias died in 1978 and does indeed appear to have churned out a lot of choral music for "the masses" on demand but whether this was simple political expediency or the result of committed belief I do not know. The Second Symphony suggests that he was a better composer than his posthumous reputation would suggest.
Something occured as I was typing, and I originally stated there was actually very llittle public recognition of Dobias.  I'll have to go back and modify it. Appreciate the acknowledgement.

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Vaclav Dobias
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2009, 07:16:51 AM »
I very much doubt whether Vaclav Dobias "is widely recognised as a familiar compositional highlight among the general public" ;D

I know his Symphony No.2 in the coupling with the Burghauser to which you refer and agree that it is a fine work-much, much better than the other piece by Dobias with which I am familar: the Cantata "Build up your Country to keep up the Peace" which is a pretty terrible example of Czech Socialist Realism in music.

Dobias died in 1978 and does indeed appear to have churned out a lot of choral music for "the masses" on demand but whether this was simple political expediency or the result of committed belief I do not know. The Second Symphony suggests that he was a better composer than his posthumous reputation would suggest.

I've listened to the 2nd symphony a couple of times since my last post here.  This is a serious, tightly controlled work which is intense and utterly sincere.  Slight hints of earlier Czech musical suggestions with hints of Shostakovich.  Dark, gloomy and foreboding but wonderfully executed  in its complex rhythms and tonal adumbrations.  Recommended for those who take an intense liking to serious  and compelling music.