(losif Ivanovich Vitol’; Joseph Wihtol). Born July 14 (26), 1863, in Valmiera; died Apr. 24, 1948, in Liibeck. Latvian composer and music critic. One of the founders of Latvian national music.
Vĭtols graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory from N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov’s composition class in 1886. From 1886 to 1918 he taught at the conservatory, becoming a professor in 1901; among his students were S. S. Prokofiev, N. la. Miaskovskii, and V. M. Beliaev. He participated in the Beliaev Circle. From 1897 to 1914 Vĭtols was music reviewer for the German-language St. Petersburger Zeitung. In 1918 he became director of the Latvian opera theater in Riga. He was one of the founders of the Latvian Conservatory in Riga (1919; rector until 1944 and professor, with an interruption from 1935 to 1937). He headed the organization of festivals of Latvian singers.
Vĭtols’ creative art was formed under the influence of national liberation aspirations at the turn of the 20th century and Russian classical music of the St. Petersburg school. It combined a folk foundation with a mastery of professional skills. The genres of choral (more than 100) and solo songs (about 100), instrumental music, and arrangements of Latvian folk songs were extensively developed in Vĭtols’ creative work. Among his works are six cantatas, the symphonic poem The Feast of Ligo (1889), the Dramatic Overture (1895), the symphonic overture Spriditis (1907), the suite for symphony orchestra and chorus King Brusubarda and Princess Gundega (1913), and the symphonic suites Precious Stones (1924) and Latvian Village Serenade (1924). Vĭtols won the Glinka Prize in 1905, 1907, 1910, and 1911.
WORKSVospominaniia. Stat’i. Pis’ma. Leningrad, 1969.
REFERENCESGravitis, O. lazep Vitol i latyshskaia narodnaia pesnia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966. (Translated from Latvian.)
Dărzinš, E. “Jazeps Vĭtols.” Zalktis, 1908, nos. 5-6; 1909, no. 7.
Komponists Jāzeps Vĭtols. Bibliogrāfija. Sastadijis Karlis Egle. Riga, 1963.