During his time at the Prague conservatory (1928–30), in addition to oboe playing and conducting, Smetáček also studied composition with Prof. Jaroslav Křička. He obtained a PhD at the Philosophical Faculty of the Charles University, writing his thesis on the Orchestration of Smetana´s “Youth”.

Composing was only a side activity for Smetáček. Apart from his conservatory graduation composition Wind Quintet (1930), his more significant works include his Suite for Wind Quintet From the Life of Insects and the orchestral march Vivat Olympia (1937), composed for a competition on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Helsinki. During World War II (1940) he quickly orchestrated Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition (Kartinki), as Ravel´s orchestral version was not available at that time, for the sake of a one-off performance by the Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK). For the Prague Wind Quintet he made arrangements of a number of orchestral and instrumental works, e.g. Toccata and Fugue in A minor and some other fugues by Johann Sebastian Bach.

He published several instructive works: Six Master Studies for oboe, Scale Studies for oboe (both 1954) and Oboe School (1956), in collaboration with Adolf Kubát.

For his sons’ jazz ensemble the Traditional Jazz Studio he composed some jazz-influenced pieces (Small Waltz, Rag Time Echo) and made arrangements of others (Cotton Tail Rag, Rum Tum Tiddle Dance).

He also wrote and published a number of musicological essays and studies.

Source: The Czech Music Lexicon of Persons and Institutions, entry: Václav Smetáček, author: PhDr. Petar Zapletal

ministry-of-culture logo
ministry-of-culture logo
ministry-of-culture logo