Trojan Václav

  • Trojan V
Year of Birth - Death :
1907 - 1983 †
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Biography

Vaclav Trojan, the son of a photographer, got a familiar knowledge of the milieu of the small town and of the village in the area of Podebrady and Stara Boleslav, where he used to hear country musicians playing, and he also started to take up music under the guidance of local musicians. In 1918-19 he was a vocalist of the Monastery of the Knights of the Cross in Prague. After grammar-school study in 1923-27 he was educated at the Conservatoire of Prague of Prague, where he enjoyed the tuition of such outstanding experts as Bedrich Antonin Wiedermann (organ), Otakar Ostrcil and Pavel Dedecek (conducting) and Jaroslav Kricka (composition). In next two years he studied composition at the Master School under Vitezslav Novak, who was laying much stress on the perfect mastery of the composition craftsmanship, but at the same time lett the young man a free scope how to find the best artistic solution of a problem and, if needed, he knew how to assist his students materially, too. It is characteristic of Mr Trojan s intellectual curiosity that he also attended a course of quarter-tone music with Alois Haba then.
After the graduation in 1929, there was little opportunity for the engagement of a young professional musician. Thus Vaclav Trojan made his living as a teacher of music, pianist and correpetitor, occasionally also as a violinist and violist, sometimes in the sphere of dance and lowbrow music. Several of his jazz compositions were performed on the radio by Ervin Schulhoff, and he cooperated with Mila Mellanovas Childrens Theatre where he met the libretto-writer, of his later children s opera "Merry-go-round". The activity in the Radio 1937-45, where he worked as a music director and programme officer, brought Mr Trojan not only existential ensurance but also a number of stimulations resulting from occasional claims of the radio. The relation to folk song and the tradition of Czech music, applied at its best in the Wind Quintet on the themes of Czech folk songs, was in this period developed in a number of sequences of popular songs from different regions. Mr Trojan' s special feeling for social realism, combined with poetic insinght, was perfectly utilized in the co-operation with the producer Jiri Frejka, together with whom he prepared in the forties several stagings for the National Theratre and Theatre Urania. In the fifties, Mr Trojan's love of the theatre and his respect for the pre-Smetana tradition of the revivalists suggested the origin of a number of plays with songs and dances, vrhich have won great popularity (Mrs Polly, Mother of the Regiment, The Brewery at Sojkov, etc.).
Mr Trojan' s music made its way in the world most with the connection to the puppet films of Jiri Trnka. Spalicek carried away a special prize from Valencia (1962). Prince Bayaya received a National Film Prize for artistic work (1950), A Midsummer Night's Dream was awarded the Klement Gottwald State Prize (1960), but it also won the prize Mercurio d'Oro and a silver medal from the international company CIDALC (1962), which awarded Vaclav Trojan a gold rnedal for his whole work in the area of film music and a special prize for the gramophone recording of the music to the film Spalicek. Also Hasek' s novel The Adventures of Good Soldier Schweik was re-told in puppet form. The soul of Trnka' s puppets comes to life by Trojan' s music. The music is carrying the whole action, replaces the spoken word, and it is therefore natural that it is also living outside the film, in the form of orchestral and chamber suites.
The seventies saw the birth of such works as the new-classical Sinfonietta armoniosa, the whole-evening scenic poem "The relation to folklore, and the ballet pantomime A Midsummer Night' s Dream, a conclusion of Mr Trojan' s work.
Vaclav Trojan' s music is mostly based on diatonics in a major key, which is abundantly chromatized. The linear guidance of voices sometimes gives way to bitonality or alternation of tone-birth. In some cases (e.g. in the opera Merry-go-round) atonality is found, but not a dodecaphonic one, also aleatorics (in The Golden Gate). The rhythm is usually simple and regular. In its background are often standing Bohemian dances: the polka with its variants, the landler, the furiant, but also old and modern dances. Rich polyrhythmics of some sections of Trojan' s works is a result of the richness of facture created by several chains simply, but separately provided with rhythm. True to tradition are both Mr Trojan' s work with the subject and the structure of musical stretches on the base of contrast. The instrumentation is very colourful: it uses a broad range of both vocal and instrumental colours including little-usual instruments and consonances, e.g. the piccolo and the English horn. The expression of Trojan' s music is mostly joyful to jocular, bearing traces of poetic character and chastity of the folk song, but in Trojan's work we also come across a cornposition for solo accordion "The Ruined Cathedral", composed after the sight of the ruins of Dresden cathedral, destroyed in the 2nd World War.
The official acknowledgement of the enrichment of music literature by works of lasting value, accessible to the public, was the author' s awarding of the title "National Artist" on the occasion of his 75th birthday.