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Karel Komzák, Jr.

Karel Komzák II (8 November 1850 – 23 April 1905) was a Bohemian-born Viennese composer famous for his dances and marches. He is known as a composer of 'Erzherzog-Albrecht-Marsch'.

Komzák was born in Prague in 1850. After training under his father, Karel Komzák I, he studied violin, musical theory, and conducting at the Prague Conservatory between 1861 and 1867. In March 1869 he joined his father’s 11th Regiment band at Linz, playing violin and baritone.

When the position of bandmaster to the 7th Infantry Regiment became vacant in 1871, Komzák applied and was successful, taking up his new post at Innsbruck at the age of 21. During this period the so-called Bohemian musician came to know the folk-music of Tyrol, and this showed its influenced in the choruses he wrote for the Innsbruck Liedertafel Choir, of which he was also choirmaster.

Komzák's long-standing desire to come to Vienna was eventually fulfilled in 1882, when he was called to the capital to take over the duties of bandmaster to the 84th Infantry Regiment. It was while he was with this regiment that his fame gradually spread throughout the Austrian Empire. His congenial appearance, friendly nature and energetic conducting soon made him a firm favourite of the Viennese public, who regarded him as one of the leading military composers.

An important contribution of Komzák to the development of Austrian military music was his use of stringed instruments. His band contained no less than fourteen first violins and could therefore be compared favourably with the usual concert orchestra of the period. The frequent and widespread tours undertaken by Komzák with his regimental orchestra were everywhere received with popular acclaim.

In 1892 Komzák was given leave of absence from his regiment on health grounds and the family moved to the spa town of Baden-bei-Wien, some fourteen miles southwest of Vienna, where the following year he took over direction of the Spa Orchestra. In the meantime, on 20 September 1892, he gave a farewell concert in Vienna with the band which was being moved to the regiment’s new garrison at Mostar, Herzegovina, Komzák retained the position of bandmaster until his eventual retirement in 1896, spending the winter months with the regiment in Mostar and returning to Baden in the spring to direct the season’s spa concerts. Probably the climax of his career was the series of concerts he gave with the Wiener Farben Orchestra at the World Exhibition in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904.

Only six months later Komzák died on Easter Sunday, 23 April 1905, aged only 54. In attempting to jump onto a departing train at Baden station he slipped and fell under the wheels. He was buried at Baden, but in the following November his remains were exhumed and transferred to the Central Cemetery of Vienna, where the artist was given an honorable grave by the city authorities. A monument, showing the composer with baton in hand, was erected on his grave in 1907.

His son Karel Komzák III (1878 – 1924) was also a composer.

Birth and Death Data: Born November 8th, 1850 (Prague), Died April 23rd, 1905 (Baden bei Wien)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1909 - 1930

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

Notes: The Komzák family produced several generations of noted musicians, and at least three bore the same name, Karl/Karel/Carl. The Bohemian-born second-generation Karel was a popular Viennese composer who played violin and baritone, was choirmaster in Innsbruck, and bandmaster and composer for military bands, to which he is noted for adding stringed instruments.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-8341 12-in. 11/4/1909 Joyous Vienna waltz Victor Dance Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor B-9426 10-in. 9/12/1910 Směs narodni pisni České Trio z Prahy Instrumental trio composer  
Victor B-10334 10-in. 5/15/1911 Láska a život ve Vidni Kryl's Bohemian Band Band composer  
Victor C-10864 12-in. 8/7/1911 Bad'ner Mad'l'n Victor Dance Orchestra Orchestra, with extra violin and cornet composer  
Victor B-11837 10-in. 4/9/1912 Kaiser march 1848-1898 Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor B-32249 10-in. 3/25/1925 Love and life in Vienna, part 1 Victor Schrammel-Orchester Orchestra composer  
Victor B-32250 10-in. 3/25/1925 Love and life in Vienna, part 2 Victor Schrammel-Orchester Orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-49163 10-in. 12/5/1928 Storm galop Victor Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-57670 10-in. 12/17/1929 Puss in boots Jean Warren Hight Recitation, with orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-62746 12-in. 6/24/1930 Girls from Baden Alfredo Cibelli ; La Vittoria Orchestrina Italiana [Cibelli's Orchestra] Orchestra composer  
Columbia 30216 12-in. ca. Jan.-Apr. 1909 Bad'ner Made'ln (Walzer) Prince's Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Columbia 87614 10-in. approximately July 1921 Dreams and fairy-tale Gypsy String Quartet String quartet, with cimbalom composer  
Columbia 87615 10-in. approximately July 1921 Fiora Gypsy String Quartet String quartet, with cimbalom composer  
Edison 683 Not documented 6/22/1911 Love and life in Vienna Kryl Bohumir and his Band Band, with cornet solo composer  
Edison 956 Not documented 2/24/1912 Volksliedchen Hoffman Instrumental Quartet String quartet composer  
Edison 2456 10-in. 9/15/1913 Bad'ner Mad'ln waltz New York Military Band Band composer  
Gramophone CWR1300 12-in. 10/31/1927 Viennese potpourri Marek Weber Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Gramophone CWR1359 12-in. 11/22/1927 Viennese potpourri Marek Weber Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Gramophone 2251y 10-in. 11/30/1911 Tarara (Bumm-dieu) Banda Municipale di Milano Band composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Komzák, Karel, Jr.," accessed April 15, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104115.

Komzák, Karel, Jr.. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104115.

"Komzák, Karel, Jr.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 15 April 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104115

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