Weinberger, Jaromir , Czech-born American composer; b. Prague, Jan. 8,1896; d. (suicide) St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 8,1967. He was a student of Kricka and Hoffmeister in Prague and of Reger in Leipzig. In 1922 he became a teacher of composition at Ithaca (N.Y.) Coll. Returning to his homeland, he scored a remarkable success with his opera Švanda dudák (Schwanda the Bagpiper; Prague, April 27, 1927). It subsequently was performed throughout Europe to critical acclaim. With the dismemberment of his homeland by the Nazis in 1939, Weinberger fled to the U.S. and later became a naturalized citizen. Weinberger’s success with Švandadudâk was a signal one. Even though the opera eventually went unperformed, its “Polka and Fugue” became a popular concert piece. He committed suicide, despondent over the lack of interest in his works.
dramatic: Opera: Kocourkov (c. 1926); Svanda dudâk (Schwanda the Bagpiper; Prague, April 27, 1927); Die geliebte Stimme (Munich, Feb. 28, 1931); Lidé z Polkerflatu (The Outcasts of Polker Flat; Brno, Nov. 19, 1932); Valdstejn (Vienna, Nov. 18,1937). Operetta: Frühlingssturme (1933); Apropo co delà Andula (n.d.); Na ruzich usuano (Bed of Roses; 1934); Cisar pan na tresnich (n.d.). ORCH.: Overture to a Marionette Play (1916); Christmas for Organ and Orch. (1929); Liebe-splauder, Neckerei for Small Orch. (1929); Passacaglia for Organ and Orch. (1931); Overture to a Knightly Play (1931); Neima Ivrit (Hebrew Song; 1936); Concerto for Timpani, 4 Trumpets, and 4 Trombones (1939); Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree for Piano and Orch. (N.Y., Oct. 12, 1939; rev. 1941); The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1940); Prelude and Fugue on Dixie (1940); The Bird’s Opera, overture (1940; Detroit, Nov. 13, 1941); Song of the High Seas (N.Y., Nov. 9, 1940); Mississippi Rhapsody for Band (1940); Alto Saxophone Concerto (1940); Czech Rhapsody (Washington, D.C., Nov. 5, 1941); The Lincoln Symphony (Cincinnati, Oct. 17, 1941); Prelude to the Festival for Band (1941); Afternoon in the Village for Band (1951); Préludes religieux et profanes (1953); Aus Tirol (1959); A Waltz Overture (1960). CHAMBER: Colloque sentimental for Violin and Piano (1920); Cowboy’s Christmas for Violin and Piano (1924); Banjos for Violin and Piano (1924); Czech Songs and Dances for Violin and Piano (1929); sonatinas for Clarinet or Oboe or Bassoon or Piano (1940); 10 Characteristic Solos for Snare Drum and Piano (1940). KEYBOARD: Pian o : 2 sonatas (1915; Spinet Sonata, 1915); Gravures (1924); Etude on a Polish Chorale (1924). Organ: Bible Poems (1939); Sonata (1941); 6 Religious Preludes (1946); Dedications (1954); Meditations (1956). VOCAL: Psalm CL for Soprano or Tenor and Organ (1940); The Way to Emmaus for Soprano or Tenor and Organ (1940); Ecclesiastes for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Organ, and Bells (1945); Ave for Chorus and Orch. (1962); 5 Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1962); many Czech songs.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
WEINBERGER, JAROMIR (1896–1967), composer. Born in Prague, Weinberger studied at the Prague Conservatory and with Max Reger in Leipzig. In 1922 he visited the U.S., and on his return to Europe he taught in various cities, but his center was in Prague. In 1937 he emigrated to the U.S., settling in St. Petersburg, Fla. Although best known for his operas, Weinberger also wrote orchestral, choral, and instrumental works. His early compositions were in the style of the French impressionists, but later works were inspired by Czech folk music and the school of Dvorak and Smetana. His picturesque folk-opera Švanda dudák ("Schwanda the Bagpiper," 1927), written in the tradition of Smetana, won Weinberger immediate popularity, and was translated into 17 languages and performed throughout Europe and the U.S. The opera's "Polka and Fugue" is a concert staple.
Other operas are Lidé z Pokerflatu ("The Outcasts of Poker Flat," after Bret Harte, 1932) and Wallenstein (1937), a lyric tragedy after Schiller. After leaving Europe, Weinberger became deeply influenced by American culture and completely changed his style. Among his later works are Variations and Fugue on Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree (1939), Lincoln Symphony (1941), Ecclesiastes, for soprano, baritone, mixed chorus, and organ (1945), Prelude and Fugue on Dixie, and Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Some of his music on Jewish subjects is still unpublished.
mgg, incl. bibl.; Baker, Biog Dict; Riemann-Gurlitt, incl. bibl.; Grove, Dict; New York Times (Aug. 11, 1967), 21.