Oskar Nedbal

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Oskar Nedbal, 1901, portrait by Šechtl and Voseček studios

Oskar Nedbal (26 March 1874 – 24 December 1930) was a Czech violist, composer, and conductor of classical music.

Early Life[edit]

Nedbal was born in Tábor, in southern Bohemia. He studied the violin at the Prague Conservatory under Antonín Bennewitz.

Career[edit]

He was principal conductor with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 1896 to 1906 and was a founder member of the Bohemian String Quartet.

Although a great admirer of his teacher Antonín Dvořák, Nedbal paid homage to other composers. For example, in his 1910 composition, Romantic Piece, Op. 18 for cello and piano, Nedbal cleverly inserts a theme usually associated with Mozart, Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman.

His works include one (unsuccessful) opera, Jakob the Peasant (1919–1920), and the operettas Chaste Barbara (1910), Polish Blood (1913), The Vineyard Bride (1916), and Beautiful Saskia (1917).

Death and Legacy[edit]

Because of mounting personal debts, Nedbal committed suicide by jumping out of a window of the Zagreb Opera House on 24 December 1930.ON

The waltz from his ballet The Tale of Simple Johnny (Der Faule Hans) is played on the piano at a key moment by one of the characters in Heimito von Doderer's great novel of the inter-war years in Vienna, The Demons (Die Dämonen) (1956).

In recent years, Nedbal's haunting Valse Triste (featured in his ballet The Tale of Simple Johnny) has been a favorite stand-alone encore piece of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Selected works[edit]

Opera
  • Sedlák Jakub (Jakub the Peasant; Le paysan Jakob) (1919–1920, revised 1928); libretto by L. Novák after Lope de Vega; premiere performance 13 October 1922 in Brno
Operettas
  • Cudná Barbora (Chaste Barbara; Barbara the Chaste; Die keusche Barbara), Operetta in 3 acts (1910); libretto by Rudolf Bernauer, Leopold Jacobson [de] and V. Stech; premiere performance 14 September 1910, Vinohrady Theatre, Prague
  • Polská krev (Polish Blood; Polenblut), Operetta in 3 acts (1913); libretto by Leo Stein; premiere performance 25 October 1913, Carltheater, Vienna
  • Vinobraní (The Vineyard Bride; Die Winzerbraut), Operetta in 3 acts (1916); libretto by Leo Stein and Julius Wilhelm [de]; premiere performance 11 February 1916, Theater an der Wien, Vienna
  • Krásná Saskia (Beautiful Saskia; Die schöne Saskia), Operetta in 3 acts (1917); libretto by A. M. Willner and Heinz Reichert [de]; premiere performance 16 November 1917, Carltheater, Vienna
  • Eriwan, Operetta in 3 acts (1918); libretto by Felix Dörmann [de]; premiere performance 29 November 1918, Komödienhaus (Colosseum), Vienna
  • Mamselle Napoleon, Operetta in 1 act (1918, revised 1928); libretto by Emil Gölz and Arnold Gölz; premiere performance 21 January 1919, Die Hölle, Vienna
  • Donna Gloria, Operetta in 3 acts (1925); libretto by Viktor Léon and Heinz Reichert; premiere performance 30 December 1925, Carltheater, Vienna
  • Das Dorf ohne Männer, Operetta in 1 act (manuscript)
  • Die Erntebraut; revision of Polská krev with a German libretto by Hermann Hermecke; premiere performance 1942, Admiralspalast, Berlin
  • Podzimní píseň (Autumn Song; Le Chant d'automne); revision of Vinobraní with Czech libretto by Václav Špilar and Václav Mírovský; premiere performance 24 October 1930, Velká opereta, Prague
Ballets
  • Pohádka o Honzovi (The Tale of Honza; Tale of Simple Johnny; Jean le paresseux; Der faule Hans), Ballet-Pantomime in 5 scenes (1901–1902); libretto by František Karel Hejda; premiere performance 24 January 1902, National Theatre, Prague
  • Z pohádky do pohádky (From Fairy Tale to Fairy Tale; De conte en conte; Großmütterchens Märchenschätze) (1907); libretto by Ladislav Novák; premiere performance 25 January 1908, National Theatre, Prague
  • Princezna Hyacinta (Princess Hyacinth) (1910); libretto by Ladislav Novák; premiere performance 1 September 1911, National Theatre, Prague
  • Čertova babička (The Devil's Grandmother; Des Teufels Großmutter), Ballet-Pantomime in 3 scenes (1912); libretto by Karl van Zeska and Gertrude Stöhr; premiere performance 20 April 1912, Wiener Hofoper, Vienna
  • Andersen, Fairy Tale Ballet in 7 scenes, a prologue and an epilogue (1912); libretto by Ladislav Novák and Jaroslav Kvapil; premiere performance 1 March 1914, Ronacher, Vienna
  • Pevec lásky (Le Minnesänger) (1921); libretto by Ladislav Novák; premiere performance 9 April 1921 in Vienna (manuscript)
  • Cikánské kouzlo (La magicien tzigane); libretto by V. Stech (manuscript, incomplete)
  • Tajna; libretto by C. Sylva (manuscript, incomplete)
Incidental music
  • Die Hermannsschlacht, Music for the play by Heinrich von Kleist (1914); premiere performance 10 December 1914, Burgtheater, Vienna
Orchestral
  • Slavnostní pochod (Festival March; Festmarsch), Op. 3 (premiere 1894)
  • Scherzo caprice (Scherzo capriccioso) in G major, Op. 5 (1892)
  • Suite mignonne; orchestration (1920–1923) of the piano work Aus dem Kinderleben, Op. 15
  • Unie (Union), Festival March (1928)
  • Česká polka (Czech Polka) for string orchestra
Concertante
  • Romance et sérénade for violin and piano (or orchestra), Op. 6 (1893)
  • Romance for cello and orchestra
Chamber music
  • Romance et sérénade for violin and piano (or orchestra), Op. 6 (1893)
  • Sonata in B minor for violin and piano, Op. 9 (published 1896)
  • Dvě skladby (2 Pieces) for cello and piano (or orchestra), Op. 12 (1899)
  1. Romance in F major
  2. Capriccio in F major
  • Valse triste in G minor for string quartet (1907); from the ballet Pohádka o Honzovi
  • Romantický kus (Pièce romantique) in D major for cello and piano, Op. 18 (1910)
  • Sonata in D major for violin and piano (manuscript)
  • Fugue in D major for string quartet
  • Prosba for 3 violins
  • Romance for clarinet (manuscript)
Piano
  • Variace na thema Antonína Dvořáka (Variations of a Theme of Dvořák), Op. 1
  • Lettres intimes, 3 Pieces, Op. 7 (1894)
  • Čtyři kusy (4 Pièces), Op. 8 (1894)
  1. Barcarola
  2. Valse petite
  3. Impromptu
  4. Valse caprice
  • Silhouette, Op. 10 (1895)
  • Humoreska in G major (1896)
  • Aus vergangenen Zeiten, Op. 13 (1897); An orchestral version also exists in manuscript form.
  • Z dětského života (Aus dem Kinderleben), Suite, Op. 15; orchestrated as Suite mignonne (1920–1923)
  • Pohádka o smuku a štěstí (Fairy Tale of Grief and Joy; In Leid und Lust), Op. 16 (1905)
  • Valses silhouettes, Op. 17 (1907)
  • Sonata in D major (manuscript)
  • Humoreske en do majeur sur un thème de Dvořák (manuscript)
  • Reisebildchen (manuscript)
  • Weihnachtsstimmung (published 1908)
  • Preludium
Vocal
  • 4 písně (4 Songs) for voice and piano, Op. 2 (published 1896)
  1. Za svitu luny
  2. Anděl strážce
  3. Dívčí popěvek
  4. Píseň v národním tónu
  • 4 písně (4 Songs) for voice and piano, Op. 4 (1892)
  • 4 písně (4 Songs) for voice and piano, Op. 11 (1896); words by Josef Václav Sládek
  1. Sen
  2. Oči
  3. Dudák
  4. Co na nebi je hvězdiček
  • Píseň pro nová srdce (Chant pour les nouveaux cœurs) (manuscript)
  • Militär und Volkslieder; words by Karel Dostál-Lutinov and Hornoff (manuscript)
Film scores
  • Svatý Václav (Saint Wenceslas) (1929); directed by Jan Stanislav Kolár

References[edit]

http://www.johann-strauss.org.uk/composers-n-z.php?id=184

External links[edit]