Vilém Blodek


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(b Prague, 3 Oct. 1834; d Prague, 1 May 1874). Czech composer, teacher, flautist, and pianist. A musically talented child, he studied the flute, piano, and composition at the Prague Conservatory. After some years of independent teaching and performing (1853–60) he was appointed professor of flute at the Prague Conservatory. He then divided his time between teaching at the conservatory, for which he wrote a flute tutor (1861), and composing music for plays at the Czech Provisional Theatre and the German Estates Theatre. The stress of these activities proved too much and Blodek's last three years were spent in a mental home. His early death was regretted since his music shows unfulfilled promise. The orchestral works—a Symphony (1859), a Flute Concerto (1862), some overtures—beyond their debt to Mendelssohn and Weber display a talent and originality second only, among his contemporaries, to Smetana's; his unfinished opera Zítek (1869) makes interesting use of arioso and open forms. His comic opera V studni (‘In the Well’, 1867) proved the most popular one-act Czech opera of the 19th century. Though clearly influenced by The Bartered Bride, the work was assured of lasting success by its melodic inventiveness.

From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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