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Vačkář, family of Czech composers:

(1) Václav Vačkář; b. Prague, Aug. 12,1881; d. there, Feb. 4, 1954. He received training in military music in PrzemysT, Poland (1895-98), then was active as a conductor and orch. player in various locales before playing in the Czech Phil. (1913-19), the Vinohrad Opera Orch. (1919-20), and the šak Phil. (1920-21); after composition studies with Říhovsky and Křička (1920-22), he devoted himself to composing, writing on music, and administrative work. He was awarded the Smetana Prize of Prague in 1952. He wrote Lidová nauka o harmonii (Popular Treatise on Harmony; Prague, 1942) and with D. Vačkář, Instrumentace symfonického orchestru a hudby dechové (Instrumentation for the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Music; Prague, 1954). Of his more than 300 works, about half are in a popular or light vein, including numerous marches and waltzes. He also wrote several symphonic poems, a clarinet concertino, four string quartets, choral pieces, and songs.

(2) Dalibor Cyril Vačkář, son of the preceding; b. Korcula, Sept. 19, 1906; d. Prague, Oct. 21, 1984. He studied violin with Reissig and composition with Sin at the Prague Cons. (1923-29); also attended master classes of Hoffmann and Suk (1929-31). From 1934 to 1945 he played violin in the Prague Radio Orch.; after working as a film dramatist (1945-7), he devoted himself mainly to composition; also wrote music criticism, poetry, and plays. He used the pseudonyms Pip Faltys, Peter Filip, Tomás Martin, and Karel Raymond for his light music. With his father, he wrote Instrumentace symfonického orchestru a hudby dechové (Instrumentation for the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Music; Prague, 1954).


dramatic: Ballet: Švanda dudák (Svanda the Bagpiper; 1950-53; Prague Radio, April 7,1954); Sen noci svatojanské (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), after Shakespeare (1955-57). ORCH.: Overture (1929); two violin concertos (1931, 1958); five syms.: No. 1, Optimistická (Optimistic; 1941), No. 2, Temé vyvolená (The Chosen Land), for Contralto, Chorus, and Orch. (1947), No. 3, Smoking Symphony (1947--8; orchestration of his Smoking Sonatafor Piano; the curious subtitle, symbolizing fire and smoke in the lives of men from antiquity to the present, is in Eng. only), No. 4, O miru (Of Peace; 1949-50), and No. 5, Pro juventute (1978-82); Symphonic Scherzo (1945); two sinfoniettas (1947; Jubilee,1984); Czech Concertofor Piano and Orch. (1952); Prelude and Metamorphoses (1953); Furiant-Fantasiefor Chamber Orch. (1960); Concerto da camerafor Bassoon and Chamber String Orch. (1962); Char akter istikon,trombone concerto (1965); Legenda o clovëku (Legend of Men), concerto for Harpsichord, Winds, and Percussion (1966); Clarinet Concerto (1966); Preludefor Chamber String Orch. (1966); Concerto grossofor Soprano Saxophone, Accordion, Guitar, and Orch. (1967); In fide, spe et caritate,concerto for Organ, Winds, and Percussion (1969); Appellatiofor Women’s Chorus and Orch. (1970; Prague, Oct. 20, 1977); Pfibëh o peti kapitolách (5-Chapter Story) for Clarinet, Strings, and Percussion (1971); Musica concertante (1973). CHAMBER: Trio giocosofor Piano Trio (1929); 2 violin sonatas (1930; Dedication,1961, with each movement dedicated to VaĄkář’s teachers: Reissig, Šin, Hoffmann, and Suk); String Quartet (1931-32); Jaro 38,piano trio (1938); Monologfor Violin (1940); Quartet for Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1948); Quintetto giocosofor Wind Instruments (1950; music from the ballet Švanda dudák), Suite giocosofor Piano Trio (1960); Dialoguefor Violin (1961); 3 Studiesfor Harpsichord (1961); Concerto for String Quartet (1962); Concerto for Trumpet, Piano, and Percussion (1963); Pianoforte cantante,5 lyric reminiscences for Piano, Double Bass, and Percussion (1968); Partitafor Trumpet (1968); Milieu d’enfantfor 5 Percussion Groups (1970); Intimni hudba (Private Music) for Violin and Piano (1972); Furiant-fantasiefor Piano Trio (1974); Versesfor Flute and Guitar (1975); Symposiumfor Brass Quintet (1976); Oboe concertante for Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Horn, String Quartet, Percussion, and Piano (1977); Monograms,4 poems for String Quartet (1979; transcribed from the piano work); Portraitsfor Wind Quintet (1980; transcribed from the piano work); Juniores,4 movements for String Quartet (1981; transcribed from the piano work); Extempore,piano quartet (1983). Piano: Smoking Sonata (1936); Extempore,6 pieces (1937); Piano Fantasy,on a theme from Schubert’s The Arch (1962); Perspektive (1971); 3 Etudes (1977); Monograms (1978); Portraits (1980); Juniores (1981).

(3) Tomas VaĄkář, son of the preceding; b. Prague, July 31, 1945; d. (suicide) there, May 2, 1963. He was a gifted composer, but chose to end his life shortly after his graduation from the Prague Cons, at the age of 18. His works, all written between July 1960 and April 1963, include Sonatina furorefor Piano, Concerto recitativofor Flute, String Orch., and Piano, Tri dopisy divkam (Three Letters to a Girl), after a poem by an anonymous Czech student, for Voice and Piano or Winds and Percussion, Teen-agers,piano sonata, Metamorfózy na tema japonske ukolebavky (Metamorphoses on the Theme of a Japanese Lullaby) for Orch., Scherzo melancólicofor Orch., and Skicář Tomáře VaĄkáře (Tomář VaĄkář’s Sketchbook), 10 pieces for Piano; a Requiemremained unfinished.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire