Vaclav Kapral

"During my school years, it sometimes happened that instead of going to class I disappeared somewhere in the nearby fields and forests... I have never lost this impulsive love for nature, and I consider the moments spent in nature my most beautiful. In nature I find much inspiration for my music, and it is here where the intimate character of my music originates."
From Kapral's lecture-recital in Ostrava in 1942. Quoted in Popelka, 1977, 43. Translation © Karla Hartl.

".. I took it as my sole responsibility to take care of all matters that concern Vitulka,1 whatever the cost, because Vitulka was, has been, and always will be the main reason for living the rest of my days, the meaning of the life that I still have. That is why I want to be solely responsible for everything, needless to say that I dwell neither on comfort nor money, as they have no value for me. And should hunger and illness come in the old age, be it, I will take them gladly, because once I had this great happiness in my life, because I had Vitulka. It is she of whom I think constantly, in sadness and in happiness."
From Kapral's letter to his wife Viktoria, dated June 5, 1946. Translation © Karla Hartl.


1 Vitulka is a diminutive form of the name Vitezslava, Kapral's daughter who died in 1940.









Václav Kaprál
[b. Urcice u Prostejova, 26.3. 1889; d. Brno-Kralovo Pole, 6.4. 1947]

Kapral studied composition under Leos Janacek (Brno, 1907-1910) and Vitezslav Novak (Prague, 1919-1920). He advanced his piano studies with Marie Kuhlova (Brno 1903-1907), Adolf Miks (Prague 1919-1920), Klara Schäferova (Brno 1920-1922), and Alfred Cortot (Paris 1923 and 1924). In 1911, he founded his own private music school, and for many years had been in great demand as piano teacher.

In 1913, Kapral married Vitezslava Uhlirova (1890–1973), a classically trained singer, and in 1915, their first and only child, Vitezslava, was born. In 1921 the marriage broke down, and two years later the couple legally separated but continued taking joint care of their daughter who was to become one of the most important Czech composers of her generation.

During the years 1922-1930, Kapral devoted much of his time to concert performances for two pianos, together with prof. Ludvik Kundera, a friend and later also a colleague at the Brno Conservatory. The two were instrumental in founding the Moravian Composers' Club in Brno in 1922.1 During the years 1919-1928, Kapral was also active as choirmaster, lecturer, music editor, theoretician and critic. He had written numerous reviews and articles for Rovnost (1920-1922), Venkov (1922-1924), and Hudebni rozhledy (1924-1928). Furthermore, he authored several entries in Gracian Cernusak's Dictionary of Music and edited several works by old Czech masters (Benda, Vorisek) for Vladimir Helfert's series Musica antiqua bohemica.

In 1927, Kapral was appointed lecturer at the Masaryk University of Brno. In 1935, he was appointed professor of composition at the Brno Conservatory and became a member of the Czech Academy of Arts and Sciences. A year later, he was elected Vice-Chairman of the Czech Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. In the fall of 1942, Kapral was arrested by Gestapo and until the spring of 1945 imprisoned in the internment camp Svatoborice (near Kyjov).2 After the war, he was elected the first chairman of the Syndicate of Czechoslovak Composers (1946) but his health was already failing and he died of cancer the following year.


Notes:
1 Its predecessor was the "Young Moravian Composers' Club", founded in 1919 by Kapral, Petrzelka and Kvapil.
2 He was imprisoned for his family ties, i.e., the activities of his brother Bohumil Kapral (1895-1976) who went to exile and served as a Czechoslovak army officer abroad, first in France (1940) and later in England (1940-1945).




List of Works

Orchestral Music

Svatebni pochod | Wedding March. Large orchestra (1923)
Dve idylky | Two Idylls. Orchestra (1931)
Smutecni fanfary | Fanfares. Brass orchestra (1945)

Chamber Music

String Quartet in C Minor (1925)
String Quartet No. 2 with Baritone Solo, on text by R. Bojko. Voice and string quartet (1927)
Pisen podzimu | Autumn Song. Voice and string quartet (1929)
Balada | Ballad. Violoncello and piano (1946)

Piano Music

Lyrica. Piano cycle (Listek do pamatniku, Pisen sirotkova, Mazurka, Tanecek, Preludium, Pisen vecera, Radostne chvile, Valse Caprice). Piano (1907-1915)
Sonata I in C Major. Piano (1912)
Nocturno. Piano (1915)
Ukolebavky jara | Berceuses de Printemps. Piano (1916-1917). Dedicated to his little daughter Vitezslava.
Suita Romantica. Piano (1918)
Sonata II. Piano (1921). In memory of Hugo Mrazek.
Miniatures. Piano (1922)
Sonata III. Piano (1924)
Con duolo, piano cycle for left hand. Piano (1926)
Radostne chvile | Moments of Joy. Piano (1927)
Sonatina. Piano (1930)
Fantazie in Eb Major. Piano (1934)
Dumka. Piano (1936)
Sonatina Bucolica. Piano (1936)
Menculske strane volaji. Piano (1938)
Sedlcky. Moravian dance for piano. Piano (1938)
Sonata IV. Piano (1939)
Dve vzpominky | Two Reminiscences. Piano (1940). Dedicated his daughter Vitezslava.
Predtucha | Premonition. Piano (June 1940) In the memory of his daughter Vitezslava
Sonatina II "Hradistska idyla" | Idyll of Uherske Hradiste. Piano (1943-44)

Vocal Music

Nocturneta. Four songs for middle voice and piano (1911)
Sadila fialenku v poli. Men's Choir (1911)
Dva proste motivy | Two Simple Motifs. Two songs for voice and piano (1910-1913)
Dedikace | Dedication. Voice and piano (1917)
Modlitba | Prayer. Original title: "Obet pisni" (Songs of Sacrifice). Men's Choir (1917)
Ticho | Silence. Voice and piano (1918-1919)
Sen zimniho vecera | Dream of a Winter Night. Voice and piano (1918-1919)
Ukolebavka | Lullaby. Women's choir (1920)
Pro ni | For Her. Four songs for voice, piano and three violins (1927). Dedicated to Otylka Humlova.
Pisen jarni | Spring Song. Men's choir (1931)
Zdravice | Greetings. Mixed choir (1932)
Pout sv. Antonina. Men's choir (1932)
Uspavanky | Lullabies. Middle voice and chamber orchestra (1932-1933)
Touha | Longing, for low voice. Voice and piano (1936)
Ledove kvety | Frost Painting. Men's choir (1942)
Hana zpiva | The Hana Region Sings. Mixed choir (1942)
Kviti milodejne | Amorous Flowers. Four songs for two women's voices and piano (1942). In the memory of Vitezslava Kapralova.
Ceska mse Svatoboricka | Czech Mass of Svatoborice. Mixed choir and organ (1943)
Svatoboricke lidove pisne | Folk Songs of Svatoborice. Arrangements of folk songs. Men's and women's choirs (1943)
Bez rozlouceni | Without Saying Goodbye. Women's choir (1944)
Javorina. Men's choir (1944)
Beroun. Voice and piano (1944)
Korycany. Men's choir (1945)

The above manuscripts are available from the Moravian Museum of Brno

Published Scores

Sonata I. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1922]
Svatebni pochod (piano reduction). Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1923]
Miniatures. Piano Brno: Pazdirek, 1924]. Miniatura No. 3 [in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1977]
Sonata II. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1924]
Berceuses de Printemps. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1924]. Ukolebavka jara No. 4 [in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1977]
Suita romantica. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1928]
Lyrica. Piano cycle [Brno: Pazdirek, 1930]
Dva proste motivy. Voice and piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1930]
Dedikace. Voice and piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1931]
Ticho. Voice and piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1931]
Ukolebavka. Women's choir [Brno: Pazdirek, 1931]
String Quartet in C Minor [Brno: Pazdirek, 1931]
String Quartet No. 2. Baritone and string quartet [Brno: Pazdirek, 1931]
Sonatina. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1932]
Nocturno. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1932]
Sonata III. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1932]
Uspavanky. Voice and chamber orchestra [Brno: Pazdirek, 1935] Arr. voice and piano [Prague: Melantrich, 1936].
Dumka. Piano [In: Moravsti skladatele mladezi. Brno: Pazdirek, 1936. Reprinted in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1977]
Sonatina Bucolica. Piano [in: Klavir 1937. Prague: HMUB, 1937. Reprinted in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1977]
Pro ni. Voice, piano, and three violins [Brno: Pazdirek, 1938]
Menculske strane volaji. Piano [Lidove noviny, 1938]
Moravian Dance "Sedlcky". Piano [In: Ceske a moravske tance. Brno: Pazdirek, 1938. Reprinted in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1977]
Sonata IV. Piano [Brno: Pazdirek, 1940. 2nd movement "Allegretto semplice" reprinted in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Editio Supraphon: Praha 1977]
Pisen podzimu. Voice and string quartet [Brno: Pazdirek, 1940]
Svatoboricke lidove pisne. Arrangement of folk songs for men's and women's choirs [Prague: HMUB, 1946]
Bez rozlouceni. Women's choir [Prague: Svoboda, 1947]
Three Piano Pieces (Two Reminiscences for Piano, Premonition). Piano [Prague: Svoboda, 1947. Reminiscence No. 2 reprinted in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1977]
Fantazie in E Fb Major. Piano [Prague: HMUB, 1948]
Milodejne kviti. Two women's voices and piano [Prague: HMUB, 1950]
Sonatina. Piano [Prague: Orbis, 1951. Reprinted in: Vaclav Kapral: Lyricke miniatury. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1977]

Discography

Lyrica, for piano (1907-15). CD recording. Bleriot CL 002/1-2 (year?).
Nocturno, for piano (1915). Tomas Visek. CD recording. In "Srdce na Vysocine." Tomas Visek TV 0002-2254 (2001).
Ukolebavka, for women's choir (1920). Bambini di Praga. CD recording. In: "Ave Maria: Famous Sacred Choral Works." MULTISONIC 31 0163-2 (Czech Republic) (year?). Also in: "After Hours Classics," Vol. 4-Adagio. CAMERATA (JAP) (year?).
Sonata III, for piano (1924). Alice Rajnohova. CD recording. Radioservis 625-2 (2012).
String Quartet in C Minor (1925). Skampa Quartet. CD recording. Radioservis 618-2 (2012); Janacek Quartet. Radioservis 625-2 (2012).
Uspavanky, for voice and chamber orchestra (1932-33). LP recording. J. Wysoczanska and Brno Philharmonic with Bretislav Bakala [cond.]. Supraphon DM 5487 (1956); Anna Baarova and Brno Philharmonic with Petr Altrichter [cond.]. CD recording. Radioservis 625-2 (2012).
Sonata IV, for piano (1939). Supraphon 1 119 3961 (year?); CD recording. Alice Rajnohova. Radioservis 625-2 (2012).
Premonition (1940). Alice Rajnohova. CD recording. Radioservis 625-2 (2012).
Bez rozlouceni, for women's choir (1944). LP recording. VSMU with Bretislav Bakala [cond.]. Ultraphon 14866 (year?).

Bibliography

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Barinkova, Jarmila. "Nekolik pohledu na Vaclava Kaprala." Stafeta 4 (1975): 9-11.
Bednarova, Vera. "O rodicich Vitezslavy Kapralove." Kulturni zpravy 4 (1992): 27.
Bednarova, Vera. "Rodinny kruh Vaclava Kaprala." Stafeta 2 (1979): 7-9.
Chlubna, Osvald. "Vzpominka na Vaclava Kaprala." Hudebni rozhledy 7 (1957): 302.
Chmel, Zdenek. Galerie brnenskych osobnosti: 1. A-K. Brno: ANTE, 1998.
Culik, Frantisek. "Vzpominka na Svatoborice." Kulturni zpravy 10 (1992): 7.
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