Emil František Burian - Malá předehra (Small Ouverture) op.42

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Fl. Sax. Fag. Hrn. Trp. Trb. Pno. Perc. Vl. Vc.
A publication is in preparation
This composition has been played by the Ebony Band
'Around Prague 1922-1937', Channel Classics CCS 34813, see Discography



The purpose for which the Small Overture (Malá předehra) was written

remains unknown. The manuscript has no title, and the only indication are

the words "opona připravit" ("prepare the curtain!") at the end of the music,

which of course imply a theatrical production.


In the mid 1920s Burian was active in the Prague theatrical world. He was

involved in the Entfesselte Theater (also known as the Liberated Theater)

founded by Jiří Frejka in1925. In March 1927 he moved to the newly founded

Theater Dada, together with Frejka himself, the actress Lola S. and several

others. The Theater Dada, however, was to enjoy only a short existence.

For which of the two establishments the Small Overture was written,

therefore remains uncertain.

Frejka became artistic director of the Prague National Theater in 1930, while

Burian founded his own politically engaged theater, called D-34, in 1933. The

‘Entfesselte Theater’ remained active throughout this period; Erwin Schulhoff

played the piano there regularly from 1933-1935.