Doubrava Jaroslav (1909 - 1960)

Jaroslav Doubrava - Foto: archiv autora

Jaroslav DoubravaFoto: archiv autora

A significant representative of the Czech inter-war and post-war music, Doubrava in his works openly responded to the reality of the fascist and communist totalitarianism. His legacy thus remains largely unknown, in spite of the unmistakable artistic qualities of his music.

During his studies at the Training School in Chrudim he started playing the violin, piano, and he also took solo singing lessons. Following his studies, he worked as a teacher until the middle of the 1940s. In the years 1935 to 1940 he studied composition privately with Otakar Jeremiáš. 

Between 1945 and 1955 he was employed by the Czech Radio as a music reporter, dramaturgist and chief reviewer. From 1956 on was a freelancer. As a composer, he gradually turned from the initial neoclassical tendencies and Suk's and Jeremiáš's influence prevailing in his early works towards the Czech inter-war modernistic tradition. His music is fundamentally based on a linear-polyphonic mode of thought and the modal tonal setting of (Moravian) folk music. It is not only his use of modality, but also the type of his melodics and the compositional outline of his works that reveal Doubrava's affinity to the legacy of Leoš Janáček. Most significantly, his output includes extensive scores of incidental and symphonic music, and also chamber music. He is the author of three symphonies, out of which the anti-war 2nd Symphony "Stalingrad" (1944) raised the most attention. 

Furthermore, he composed operas and ballets, using some of the scores to create symphonic suites (e.g.: the operas A Midsummer Night's Dream (1945), St Vladimir's Christening (Křest svatého Vladimíra, 1950); the ballets King Lávra (Král Lávra, 1951), Don Quijote (1955). He wrote music for short films, instructive compositions, and he also arranged folk songs. 

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