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Josef Bohuslav Foerster


FOERSTER, JOSEF BOHUSLAV ), Czech composer, was born on Dec. 3o, 1859, at Detenice, Bohemia. His father, Josef Foerster (1833-1907), was organist at Prague cathedral from 1887 onwards, and did much for the reformation of Church music in Bohemia. The son held various musical posts in Prague, and married an opera singer, Berta Lanterer. They went to Hamburg in 1893 and Foerster became a professor at the Hamburg conservatorium. At Hamburg the Foersters formed a close friendship with Gustav Mahler, who engaged Frau Foerster for the Imperial Opera in Vienna in 1903. Foerster taught at the Vienna conservatoire, and, after the revolution of 1918, at Prague. From 1922-23 he was director. Foerster has written music in many forms, some of his most important works being those for mixed chorus and orchestra, of which Mortuis Fratribus (1918) is one of the best known. His operas, Deborah (1891), Eve (1897), Jessica (1904), The Unconquered (1906), and The Heart (1922), are distinguished in turn by psychological depth and much subtle expressiveness. Many of Foerster's works have been directly inspired by episodes in his own life, and as time has passed his music has become more and more spiritual and philosophical in content.


Zd. Nejedly, J. B. Foerster (Prague, 1909), and J. Bartol, J. B. Foerster (Prague, 1922), both written in Czech.

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