Reiner, Karel , prominent Czech composer and pianist; b. Zatec, June 27, 1910; d. Prague, Oct. 17, 1979. He studied law at the German Univ. in Prague (Dr.Jur., 1933) and musicology at the Univ. of Prague. He also attended Suk’s master classes (1931) and A. Hâba’s courses in microtonal music (1934–35) at the Prague Cons. He was associated with E. Burian’s improvisational theater in Prague (1934–38). Unable to leave Central Europe when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, he was detained at Terezin, and later sent to the concentration camps of Dachau and Auschwitz, but survived, and after liberation resumed his activities as a composer and pianist. His earliest works were atonal and athematic; in 1935–36 he wrote a Suite and a Fantasy for quarter tone piano, and a set of 5 quarter-tone songs; after 1945 he wrote mostly traditional music; then returned to ultramodern techniques.
DRAMATIC: Opera: Pohâdkaozakktépiseu (Tale of an Enchanted Song; 1949); Schustermärchen, fairy tale opera (1972). Ballet: Jednota (Unity; 1933). ORCH.: Piano Concerto (1932); Violin Concerto (1937); Concertante Suite for Winds and Percussion (1947); Divertimento for Clarinet, Harp, Strings, and Percussion (1947); 3 Czech Dances (1949); Spring Prelude (1950); Motyli tady neziji (Butterflies Don’t Live Here Anymore), 6 pictures, based on music to the film (1959–60; depicts the fate of Jewish children in the Terezin concentration camp); Sym. (1960); Symphonic Overture (1964); Concerto for Bass Clarinet, Strings, and Percussion (1966); Concertante Suite (1967); Bassoon Concertino (1969); Promluvy (Utterances) for Chamber Orch. (1975); Music for Strings (1975); Introduction and Allegro (Diptych No. 2) (1976); Diptych No. 1 (1977); 3 Symphonic Movements (1978). CHAMBER: 3 string quartets (1931, 1947, 1951); 7 Miniatures for Wind Quintet (1931); Dvanact (The 12), suite for Piano and Wind Quintet (1931); 2 nonets (Concerto, 1933; Préambule, 1974); Sonata brevis for Cello and Piano (1946); 4 Compositions for Clarinet and Piano (1954); 3 Compositions for Oboe and Piano (1955); Elegie and Capriccio for Cello and Piano (1957); Double Bass Sonata (1957); Violin Sonata (1959); Small Suite for 9 Wind Instruments (1960); 6 Bagatelles for Trumpet and Piano (1962); 2 Compositions for Oboe and Harp (1962); 4 Compositions for Clarinet (1963); 6 Studies for Flute and Piano (1964); Trio for Flute, Bass Clarinet, and Percussion (1964); Piano Trio (1965); Suite for Bassoon and Piano (1965); Music for 4 Clarinets (1965); Crty (Sketches) for Piano Quartet (1966–67); Concert Studies for Cymbalom (1967); 2 Compositions for Saxophone and Piano (1967); Concertante Sonata for Percussion (1967); Prolegomena for String Quartet (1968); 4 Abbreviations for Brass Quintet (1968); Dua, 5 compositions for 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, and 2 Trumpets, in any combination (1969); Volne listy (Loose Leaves) for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1969); Formulas for Trombone and Piano (1970); Recordings for Bassoon (1970); Drawings for Clarinet, Horn, and Piano (1970); Maxims for Flute Quartet (1970); Tercetti for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1971); Talks for Wind Quintet (1971–72); Akrostichon a Allegro for Bass Clarinet and Piano (1972); Duo for 2 Quarter Tone Clarinets (1972); Replicas for Flute, Viola, and Harp (1973); Sujets for Guitar (1973); Overturn ritmica for Guitar (1974); Strophes for Viola and Piano (1975); Portraits, suite for String Trio (1977); Dialogues for 2 Flutes (1978); Panels, sextet for Brasses (1979). P i a n o: 9 Merry Improvisations (1928–29); 5 ]azz Studies (1930); 3 sonatas (1931, 1942, 1961); Minda-Minda, 7 compositions (1937). VOCAL: Bylo jim tisic let (It Was a Thousand Years since Then), cantata (1962); Talks for Baritone, Saxophone, and Flute (1979); songs.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire