Emil Frantisek Burian

Burian, Emil František

 

Born June 11, 1904, in Pilsen; died Aug. 9, 1959, in Prague. Czech director, composer, writer, and playwright.

Burian began his career in 1923 as a composer. In 1926 he began working as an actor in a variety of theaters. In 1927 he completed a studio course in composition at the Prague Conservatory. He is the composer of Before Sunrise, an opera based on a work by Hauptmann (1924); Mary sa, an opera based on a work by the Mrstík brothers (1938); the ballet Bassoon and Flute (1925); and symphonies, instrumental chamber music, and scores for plays and movies. He began his career as a director in dramatic theater in 1929. In 1933 he founded the D-34 Theater in Prague with the intention of presenting sharply political and highly topical works. Burian was especially noted for using a variety of genres, for combining words, music, and flowing movement, and for attempting to find new means of expression. His productions include Gorky’s Egor Bulychov and Others (1934) and Pogodin’s The Aristocrats (1935). Burian was also the author and director of two plays based on folklore, War (1935) and Folk Suite (1938). During the fascist occupation he was imprisoned in a concentration camp (1941-45). After the country was liberated, the plays Burian directed at the D-34 included Gorky’s Lower Depths (1951), Mayakovsky’s The Bedbug (1956), Schweik (based on Hasek’s novel), and Brecht’s Threepenny Opera.

WORKS

O nové divadlo: 1930-1940. Prague, 1946.

REFERENCES

Bachelis, T. “Teatr E. Buriana.” Teatr, no. 8, 1958.
Koóová, Z. Kronika Armàdniho umèleckého divadla. Prague, 1955. Divadlo, no. 7, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
Other leading figures whose anniversaries we are celebrating are the versatile avant-garde musician and dramatist Emil Frantisek Burian (b.
Other composers of the Czech musical avant-garde who took up folklore to a limited degree included Alois Haba (Five Songs, 1944, the opera Mother, 1929), Pavel Borkovec (choral music Folk Sayings, 1936), and the director and composer Emil Frantisek Burian - largely because he wrote so much music for the stage.
Also worthy of mention are Cocktails (1927) composed by Emil Frantisek Burian on texts by the major Czech poet and founder of the Group of Surrealists in the Czechoslovak Republic, Vitezslav Nezval.
These were later joined by the composer, playwright and director Emil Frantisek Burian, the composers Isa Krejci and Jaroslav Jezek and the music critic Josef Lowenbach.
From that point on, important members were to include the outstanding Czech conductor Karel Ancerl, the composers Emil Frantisek Burian and Vladimir Polivka (1896-1948), the composer and theorist Karel Reiner (1910-1979), and Vit Nejedly (1912-1940, son of the important Czech musicologist, historian and later politician in the communist dictatorship Zdenek Nejedly).
The playwright, director and composer Emil Frantisek Burian, and the composers Isa Krejci, Jaroslav Jezek, Pavel Haas or Pavel Borkovec may definitely be considered leading representatives of the Czech inter-war musical avant-garde.
All this perfectly harmonised with the vision of the period expressed by the Prague composer, singer and actor/director Emil Frantisek Burian (see CMQ 4/2004) in the first and for a long time the only Czech publication on jazz: "Electric vibration streams into the place where violets used to perfume the air and the half-witted moon used to shine romantically.
We bring you a triple portrait of Emil Frantisek Burian, the man of vital importance for the interwar theatre avant-garde in this country, whose contribution to Czech music has still not been adequately recognised.
Throughout his life the composer Emil Frantisek Burian remained unjustly overshadowed by Burian the director and dramatic author.