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Oskar Nedbal

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Biography

Oskar Nedbal (March 26, 1874 – December 24, 1930) was a Czech violist, composer, and conductor of classical music.

Nedbal was born in Tábor, in south Bohemia. He was principal conductor with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 1896 to 1906 and was a founder member of the Bohemian String Quartet.

Although a great admirer of Dvořák, of whom he was a pupil, Nedbal paid homage to other composers. For example in his 1910 composition, Romantic Piece, Op. 18 for cello and piano, Nedbal cleverly inserts a theme usually associated with Mozart, Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman. The waltz from his ballet Lazy Hans (Der faule Hans) is played on the piano at a key moment by one of the characters in Heimito von Doderer’s great novel of the inter-war years in Vienna, The Demons (Die Dämonen) (1956).

His works include one (highly unsuccessful) opera, Jakob the Peasant (1919-20), and the operettas Chaste Barbara (1910), Polish Blood (1913), The Vineyard Bride (1916), and Beautiful Saskia (1917).

Because of mounting personal debts, Nedbal committed suicide by jumping out of a window of the Zagreb Opera House on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1930.

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