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Alois Haba

born: 1893-05-21
died: 1973-11-18
birthplace: Vizovice
diedplace: Praha

one of the most extreme innovators in Czech music ever, musical theoretician and pedagogue. Pupil of Vitezslav Novak, admirer of Schoenberg and Webern. As a child he played violin and bass in his father's traditional music band. Some of the principles of traditional Moravian music he later used in his own concept of microtonal music. After secondary school in Kromeriz (1908-1912), he studied at the conservatory of Prague (composition under Vitezslav Novak 1914-1915) and also the Academy of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna (1918–1920) and in Berlin 1920–1922). Supported by Josef Suk he founded the microtonal department at the conservatory of Prague in 1924 where he kept teaching until 1948. He was also a professor of the Musical Academy od Prague. Haba is regarded as the founder of qartertone music, he also used even tiniter tone partition like fifthtone or sixthtone. He designed special musical instruments to enable the interpretation of microtonal music. He also was a pioneer of so called athematic style. In 1950's, influenced by the ever-present communist ideology, he composed community songs in the celebration of communism. Those were soon forgotten; however, so was the most of the rest of his "serious" music which is still often hard to digest for common listeners.

  • Operas
    • Mother (in quartertone system), 1930
    • New Country , 1936
    • Kingdom Come (in sixthtone system), 1942
  • Vocal writings
    • songs and chorals, often on ideological themes, also songs for childrem and adaptations of folk song
    • Cantata For Peace , 1948
  • Chamber music and solo compositions
    • 16 string quartets
    • Suites for solo cello and violin , 1955
    • Deux morceaux pour piano, op. 2 , 1918
    • Sonata for piano, op. 3 , 1918
    • Fantasy for violin in quartertone system, op. 9a , 1921
    • Toccata quasi una fantasia for piano, op. 38 , 1931
    • Sonata for quartertone piano, op. 62 , 1947
    • Suite for quartertone guitar op. 63 , 1947
    • Fantasy for Organ, op. 75a , 1951
    • Suite for solo saxophone, op. 99 , 1968
  • Orchestral works and concertos
    • Orchestral Ouverture , 1921
    • string concertos (violin, viola)
    • Symphonic Fantasy "Way of the Life" (in halftone system), 1933
    • Walachian Suite for the Orchestra , 1953


Little Encyclopedia of Music (dr. Jar. Smolka; &col., Supraphon 1983
Book of Music (V.Holzknecht, Orbis 1964)


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Last update 2012-07-09