Composers

Soukup Vladimír

20.2.1930—3.3.2012

Biography

It is difficult to put Vladimir Soukup in one of usual categories of artistic types; statement that he is a sort of versatile, universal composer is more fitting. He started to study composition privately with Zdeněk Hůla, in 1955 he completed his professional education at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts as pupil of Jaroslav Řídký. Since then he has devoted himself to composition professionally. Instrumental music, both chamber and orchestral, has been undoubtedly in the centre of his creative interest. At the beginning of his career as composer Vladimír Soukup decided to write sonata compositions for various solo instruments as one of his long-term tasks. He has never abandoned that intention: his instrumental concertos and sonatas form a long series of compositions, reflecting all typical features of his compositional work and style. It is obvious that he considers the sonata form as a living and inspiring incentive for the development of creative phantasy. It enables him, to write music of contrasting moods, dramatic development and virtuoso nature - music expressing his attitude to the contemporary rhytm and style. His compositions for solo instrument, though not written for specific performers (with the expection of the Trombone concerto dedicated to Professor Hejda, a member of the Czech; Philharmonic Orchestra), are easy to play in spite of all the difficulty of their parts, becouse he grasped specific features of instrumental techniques. Therefore they are popular among performers. Four symphonies and several ensemble chamber works complement the outline of Soukup's efforts.
In the seventies there appears a new dominant in Soukup's creation, concurrent with his incessant activity in the instrumental field: it is his interest in musical stage, namely ballet, opera, and musical play. Vladimír Soukup inherited love for the theatre from his parents, who were passionate amateurs and the theatre stage quite naturally accompanied his first steps as composer in his childhood. However, he entered himself the professional scene in the sphere of serious music much later: it was in 1960 with the feature ballet Francois Villon, which was presented with success in Ostrava (40-times) and Ceske Budějovice (35-times). After lapse of years there followed musical "The Sun above-the River", a chamber satiric of treatment of swindlers and their victims (60x in ths Pragua - Korlín Music Th~otre), onother musical entitlecP "The Green Volley" from contemporary villoge and fiwo. operas: Cleopatra (to a Shakespearean theme) and cham¬ber buffa "Sussy in Both", o contemporary satire intro¬duced successfully in Opava in 1980. Soukup composed his third opera for the centenary of the National Theatre; it is called "Rebellion" and its action is situated in the 18th century, in the period of a large peasant uprising. His ballet "Little Beetles" was composed on his own libretto, but vaguely linked with the well-known book for children by Karafiát. Musical-dramatic works determine the nature of the ripest period of Soukup's compositional output. As a preparation for it served Soukup's cantatas and cycles of songs as well as choirs of 1956-1974, with two exceptions all of them are settings of texts by Czech poets. In his music Vladimír Soukup strives for comprehensible, technically perfect shape. He wants to atract contemporary listener not by sound effects or technical experiment, but by convincing emotional confession. He has found his stimuli in the works by classics of our century - Prokofyev, Martinů, Honegger, Bartók. The presence of the melodic element is indispensable to him, as is the presentation of distinct rhythm.

Work

CHOICE OF COMPOSITIONS

MUSICAL-DRAMATIC WORKS

Cleopatra. Full-length opera, libretto after W. Shakespeare's play. 1976
Susy in Bath. Opera buffa to a contemporary subject. 1977
The Rebellion. Full-lenght to a historical subject from the 18th century. 1980
Francois Villon. Drama in dance from the life of the French poet of the 15th century. 1960
The Beetles. Fairy-tale ballet to author's own libretto after Jan Karafiat's book for children "Little Beetles". 1981
The Sun above the River. Musical. 1973, Dilia
The Green Valley. Musical, 1975, Dilia

SYMPHONIES AND CANTATAS

Second Symphony, 1962, Panton, o Panton 25'
Third Symphony - Canto Allegro - 1964 25'
Fourth Symphony (da camera), 1969 16'
Cantata Futura (Legacy of Vladimir Mayakovsky) for choir, orchestra and reciter, 1963 22'

INSTRUMENTAL CONCERTOS

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, 1961, ČHF 25'
Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, 1972 20'
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, 1978 o SU 20'
Concerto for French Horn and Strings, 1970 12'
Concerto for Trombone, Strings and Kettledrums,1967, Panton 12'

CYCLES OF SONGS AND CHORUSES

The Songs of My Home. Four songs for tenor and piano (M. Florian), 1956
Erotic Songs. Four songs for contralto, flute and piano (A. Akhmatova), 1964
The Fire Summer. Three songs for baritone and piono (S. K. Neumann), 1968
The Woman. Three songs for soprano and piano (Fráňa Šrámek), 1968
Czech Home. Three sangs for baritone and piano (J. Hora, J. Jelen), 1972
Love Songs. Three mixed choirs a cappella (K. Biebl, K. Toman), 1974 13'

CHAMBER COMPOSITlONS

Wind Quintet, 1967, CD Oxford 1991, performed by The Miami Wind Quintet
Trio for Violin, Violoncello ond Piano, 1965, SU
String Quartet, 1970
First Sonata for Piano, 1969
Second Sonata for Piano, 1972
Polkas for Piano, 1980
Music for Organ, 1967
Sonata for Violin and Píano, 1963, SU
Sonata for Viola and Piano, 1961, ČHF
Sonata for Violoncello and Piano, 1964, SU
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, 1966, ČHF
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Panton
Sonata for Flute and Piano, 1969
Sonata for Oboe and Piano, 1970
Sonata tor Bass-c!arinet, Piano and Percussion Instruments, Panton

 

 

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