Odstrčil Karel

  • Odstrčil
Year of Birth - Death :
1930 - 1997
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Karel Odstrcil's road towards composing was not typical. He entered the musical career rather late, though he hails from a region with rich folk music traditions and though his family literally lived music. He decided to devote himself to composition professionally only when he had no doubts obout the correctness of his decision.
In his home he was very well initiated to musical practice and his natural musicality added to musical renome of his family. He went to Ostrava to study at the Mining College (1954), he acquired the degree of mining engineer. Then he worked as teacher of mining subjects at industrial school in Pribram. During his student years in Ostrava he also studied music with important experts such as Josef Kysela (piano), Jaroslav Gotthard and Rudolf Vasata (conducting) and Josef Schreiber (composition). He complemented theoretical studies with practical activity of conductor of the Ostrava Student Ensemble.
A meeting with composer Klement Slavicky represented the decisive impetus for the development of his creative talent: the former proved to be a good teacher and adviser and set to him the road towards the first ripe creative results. During his private studies with Klement Slavicky (1957-1963) Odstrcil acquired clarity about everything he needed for independent artistic life and found his bearings in the complex problems of contemporary creation. Odstrcil introduced himself to the public with his first compositions revealing a knowledgeable author, namely symphonic triptych "450 Fahrenheit" (awarded a diploma of honour in the Czech Music Fund competition for the 20th liberation anniversary) and a piano sonata - both of them performed for the: first time in Prague at the beginning of 1964.
Two circumstances helped Karel Odstrcil to form his cleancut manuscript of composer: his North Moravian origin, contact with people s culture of his native region, and technical education. Nothing has been in vain. His youth spent in on environment satiated with music still acts as a feedback on his musical imagination and on the nature of his invention. It is not reflected in folk music intonations (except for few vocal compositions his music is devoid of direct folk-music inspirations), but in the capacity to formulate efficiently a musical idea, to maintain its inventional ampleness. Author's original profession of engineer has been the source of the rational nature of his creation: Karel Odstrcil attempts to de-mythicise the process of creation, to transfer it to material, technical parameters. This makes it possible to him to amalgamate various approaches of the contemporary compositional technique and to reach his own synthetic results. Finally, technical education facilitated, if not gave direct rise to author s interest in electro-acoustic media of musical creation. Generally it can be said that balance between emotional and objective components determines in Odstrcil's creation the quality of his own author's expression.
Karel Odstrcil's creation had its centre of gravity in musical-dramatic forms. Three operas and seven ballets was the review of a creative phase of some 15 years. In particular his ballets, of a modern concept usually with the use of the electroacoustic component, offer the possibility of new approaches to modern choreography; interest in them has been expressed by Czechoslovak as well as foreign theatres. The sphere of concerts represents to the author an opportunity to present himself non-conventionally in compositions the content of which is usually delineated by a specific programme name: it is indisputable that both in symphonic and in chamber and vocal music Odstrcil pursued the expression of various non-musical ideas and thus places his music in contemporary social context.
Odstrcil's electroacoustic creation deserves special attention. He was starting in 1967 in the newly-established Studio of Experimental Music of the Czechoslovak Radio in Plzen, he stood at its origin. He is one of the first pioneers of the development of electronic music in Czechoslovakia: it can be demonstrated by remarkable creative results of his special-purpose compositions (audiovisual programmes for exhibitions, museums, trade fairs, etc.) as well as autonomous ones. Most important composition of this kind was the "Wax Figures Cabinet" (1967-72) in synthetic compositions Integration (1972), a quadrophonic composition, combining the sounds of symphony orchestra, mixed chorus ond vocal soli with electroacoustic music. Besides electroacoustics, the author was also interested in experiments combining sound and light (use of space-developed laser beam and a sound source) - therefrom dates his cooperation with the Brno Via Lucis group.