Fibich, Zdenek

Fibich, Zdeněk


Born Dec. 21, 1850, in Šebořice; died Oct. 15, 1900, in Prague. Czech composer, pianist, and chorus master.

From 1865 to 1867, Fibich studied piano under J. Moscheles and composition under S. Jadassohn at the Leipzig Conservatory. He completed his studies in Paris and Mannheim. He lived and worked in Prague from 1871 until his death, except for the period 1873–74, when he taught voice at a school in Vilnius. He was second conductor and chorus master at the Czech Provisional Theater (1875, 1877) and conducted the Russian choir of the Orthodox church (1878–81). Fibich was known primarily as a piano teacher; his students included K. Kovařovic, O. Ostrčil, and Z. Nejedlý.

A major representative of the national school of Czech music, surpassed only by B. Smetana and A. Dvořak, Fibich carried on the romantic tradition. His style formed under the influence of German romantic music, chiefly the works of R. Schumann, and Czech romantic poetry; many of his vocal compositions were written to poems by J. Vrchlický. Fibich’s works are distinguished by their dramatism, poetic qualities, lyric passion, and patriotism; some of his compositions are based on Czech folk literature and frequently include folk melodies.

Fibich’s works include the operas Blaník (1877), The Bride of Messina (based on Schiller’s play; 1883), The Tempest (based on the play by Shakespeare; 1894), Hédy (based on Byron’s Don Juan; 1896), Šarka (1897), and Hippodamia (words by Vrchlický; 1889–91), a trilogy of melodramas suggestive of the musical dramas of R. Wagner. Other works include three symphonies, symphonic poems, chamber music, songs, and cycles of piano pieces.


Belza, I. Ocherki razvitiia cheshskoi muzykal’noi klassiki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951. Pages 310–16 and 422–36.