Petrželka, Vilém, noted Czech composer and pedagogue; b. Královo Pole, near Brunn, Sept. 10,1889; d. Brno, Jan. 10, 1967. He studied with Janáček at the Brno Organ School (1905–08) and in 1910 became his assistant at the school; subsequently took private lessons in Prague with Vítězslav Novák. He taught at the Phil. Society School in Brno (1914–19), and in 1919 became a prof, at the newly formed Brno Cons. In his compositions, he continued the national tradition of modern Moravian music; he was mainly influenced by Janáček, but expanded his resources and on occasion made use of jazz rhythms, quarter-tones, and other modernistic procedures.
dramatic:Námořník Mikuláěs (Mariner Nicholas), symphonic drama for Narrator, Soloists, Chorus, Organ, Jazz Band, and Orch. (1928; Brno, Dec. 9, 1930); Hornik Pavel (The Miner Paul), opera (1935–38). orch.:Věěny návrat (Eternal Return), symphonic poem (1922–23; Brno, Feb. 10, 1924); Suite for Strings (1924–25); Dramatic Overture (1932; Brno, March 26, 1933); Partita for Strings (1934); Sinfonietta (1941; Brno, Jan. 22, 1942); Violin Concerto (1943–44; rev. 1946); Pastoral Sinfonietta (1951–52); Sym. (1956). chamber: 5 string quartets (1909; 1914–15; Fantasy, 1927; Suite, 1932; 1947); Z intimnich chvil (From Intimate Moments) for Violin and Piano (1918); Sonata for Solo Cello (1930); Violin Sonata (1932); Piano Trio (1936–37); 4 Impromptus for Violin and Piano (1939–40); Divertimento for Wind Quintet (1941); Serenade for Nonet or Chamber Orch. (1945); 2 Pieces for Cello and Piano (1947); Violin Sonatina (1953); Miniatures for Wind Quintet (1953); 2 Pieces for Viola and Piano (1959); Fantasy for String Quartet (1959); Suite for String Trio (1961). Piano: Sonata (1908); Songs of Poetry and Prose (1917); Suite (1930); 5 naiad (5 Moods; 1954). vocal:Modlitba k slunci (A Prayer to the Sun), cantata (1921; Brno, Feb. 13, 1922); Stafeta (The Courier), 4 songs for Voice and String Quartet (1926–27); choruses, including the popular patriotic part song for Men’s Chorus To je má zem (This Is My Land; 1940); song cycles; folk song arrangements.
L. Firkusny, V P. (Prague, 1946).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire