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Reiner, Karel


Concerto for violoncello and orchestra op. 34 [Koncert pro violoncello a orchestr] • [1941-43]
3 (Picc). 2. Eng.Hn. 3. BCl. 2. KBn. / 4. 3. 2. 1. / Timp. 5 Perc. Hp. Pno (ad lib). / mind. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4.
World Premiere: 3.12.2010, Pragueue
Duration: 30’
Sy. 5281 // Score / Vx. / *Score


2. Sonate [II. sonáta] • [1959]
For violin and piano [pro housle a klavír]
Vl. Pno.
World Premiere: 12.10.1960, Prague
Duration: 21’
Sy. 5306 // *Score // *Vx.

Drei Stücke [Tri skladby] • [1955]

For oboe and piano [pro hoboj a klavír]
Ob. Pnoi.
Duration: 11’
Sy. 5298 // *Score / *Vx.

Elegie and Capriccio [Elegie a Capriccio] • [1957/1960]

For violoncello and piano [pro violoncello a Klavír]
publ. by Sebastian Foron
Vc. Pno.
World Premiere: 27.01.1959, Pardubice
Duration: 10’
Sy. 5303 // *Score / *Vx.

Pianotrio [Klavírní trio] • [1965]
Vl. Vc. Pno.
World Premiere: 12.02.1968, Prague
Duration: 18’
Sy. 5326 // *Score / *Vx.

Minda-Minda [Minda-Minda] • [1937]
Seven pieces for children and piano [Sedm skladeb pro deti pro Klavír]
World Premiere: 05.04.1946, Prague
Duration: 6’
Sy. 5277 // *Score

Sonata brevis op. 39 [Sonata brevis] • [1947]

for violoncello and piano [pro violoncello a Klavír]
Vc. Pno.
World Premiere: 26.03.1947, Prague
Duration: 10’
Sy. 5286 // *Score / *Vx.

Strophen [Sloky] • [1975]
For viola and piano [pro violu a Klavír]
Vla. Pnoi.
World Premiere: 13.04.1977, Prague
Duration: 14’
Sy. 5360 // *Score / *Vx.

Zwei Stücke [Dve skladby] • [1967]
for Saxophone and piano [pro saxofon Es alto a Klavír]
Sax. Pnoi.
World Premiere: 03.12.1967, Prague
Duration: 9’
Sy. 5250 // *Score / *Vx.


Marginalien [Marginálie] • [1979]
For bass clarinet [pro basklarinet]
World Premiere: 26.07.1979, Dillingen (SRN)
Duration: 12’
Sy. 5370 // *Score

Tri skladby [three compositions] • [1932/64]

For violin solo
Duration: 7’
Sy. 5373 // *Score

*27 Jun 1910 Žatec, †17 Oct 1979 Prague

Karel Reiner graduated with a law degree in 1933. As well as studying law, he studied a parallel course of composition by Alois Hába and then later with Jose Suk at his master class, at the Prague conservatory. Following his studies he established himself as the musical director at the Emil František Burian theatre in Prague. After the invasion of the nazis, Reiner who was Jewish, was forbidden from performing publicly and instead organised house concerts in private houses and apartments. It was during this time that he wrote the Second Sonata for the Piano.

Throughout his life, Reiner's style possessed a tremendous versatility, moving from his early phase of his work with twelve-tone playful and experimental sounds through to the Alois Habas "athematic compositional method", which is often associated with the late-romantic-style onomatopoeic soundscapes. In May 1942 Karel Reiner married Steinerová Hana, who was also from a Jewish family. On the 5th of July 1943 they were both deported to Theresienstadt. As well as completing his daily work there, Reiner also got involved in his ‘free time’ at one of the boys’ homes, as a pianist and a composer. In 1944 he was sent to Auschwitz and then to the labour camp Kauffering, before he was taken to the concentration camp at Dachau, that the Americans had already liberated. Once he managed to return to Prague, Reiner worked at Alois Hàba’s newly grounded theatre Opera 5. května (The 5th of May Opera). Between the years 1947 to 1949 he worked as secretary for the Syndicate of Czechoslovak Composers, and in 1949 he became the official secretary for the Association of Czechoslovak Composers. After the events of the "Prague Spring" in 1968, and disillusioned by the failure of promising reforms and appalled by the increasing censorship, he quit the CCP (Czech Communist Party) in 1970. The consequences of this meant that as well as being forbidden to perform his work within the Czechoslovakia and also within the Iron Curtain states, he was also forced to leave the position of office that he held. Reiner’s response was to write critical compositions based on the works of the DDR writer Reiner Kunze who’s work was also critical of the system. Until his death in 1979 Karel Reiner remained a critical and self-critical artist, who was always able to convey his ideas and views through the means of musical expression.

Anke Zimmermann (2006, updated Dec. 2009)