Lubos Fiser (1935-1999).
Sonata III for Piano.
Luboš Fišer (1935-1999) was one of the most talented Czech composers of his generation. Born in Prague, he studied at the Prague Conservatoire from 1952-1956 and then at the Academy of Music. He was known to the public for his many film scores but it was his other compositions, many of them written under difficult political conditions, which mark him out as a composer of significance.
Fišer’s eight Piano sonatas have a special place in his œuvre. Fišer subsequently eliminated his second sonata (1956) from his compositional repertoire. From the third sonata onwards (1960), subtitled Fantasia, the composer wrote a two-movement composition, in which he continued to incorporate as his fundamental musical device the confrontation of sharp contrasts in tempo and mood. Beginning with his fourth sonata (1962–1964), Fišer created a single-movement work in an expressive, formally focused composition which betrays a progression towards greater compactness of musical shape in a concise yet effective musical testimony. The fifth sonata was written in 1974, the sixth sonata in 1978. The seventh sonata from 1985 was dedicated to František Maxián, the eighth sonata was written in 1995.
Piano Sonata No.3 was written in 1960 during the composer's studies at HAMU (Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague) under Emil Hlobil. The first half of the 1960s was the period during which Fiser's musical language underwent fundamental change as he rapidly cultivated his own, distinctive style, established in Fifteen Prints after Dürer's Apocalypse. This sonata thus also includes several essential traits which shift his compositional development further. The work has two movements, however, its internal structure abandons traditional form. The piece is divided into several short, mutually contrasting sections, whereby the distinctions between the adjacent parts are emphasised by the thematic and chordal treatment. These contrasts are also supported by the chosen dynamics, tempo and other expressional means. The harmony is largely based on traditional chords or their condensed form while, in certain passages, we will nevertheless come across semitone clusters or fourth chords. The melody is still chiefly diatonic; at times Fiser uses chromatic sequences. These new elements in Sonata No. 3 indicate an attempt to simplify his writing and ensure greatest transparency and impact. This endeavour became a basic characteristic of Fiser's compositions from the mid-1960s onwards.
The sonata originally bore the postscript Fantasia, which was subsequently taken out by the composer. It was first performed by Ales Bílek in 1961. The new setting for this piece is based on the single edition to date (Panton, 1967); only with regard to a few inconsistencies in the score was it necessary to consult the composer's manuscript (kept at the National Museum - Czech Museum of Music).