From the Correspondence of Slavko Osterc
AbstractThe Slovene composer Slavko Osterc (1895–1941), the central figure of modern Slovene music and prominent in the European musical trends of the thirties, dedicated part of his activities to the International Society for Contemporary Music. He was active at its meetings, and in 1937 was member of the programme-jury for the Society's 15th festival held in Paris. His compositions were often performed at the festivals of this international organization and due to his frequent as well as successful appearance on the concert programmes abroad his fame grew. All this brought him into contacts with the European musical scene, as is evident from the correspondence preserved. Thus it appears that he endeavoured to organize exchange concerts for the promoting of new music, about which he wrote to individual musicians, explaining to them his personal views on contemporary stylistic trends. He corresponded with the ISCM centre in London, with its national sections (Czechoslovak, Polish, Austrian, Italian, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Argentinian), as well as with various domestic and foreign personalities. Among the latter were H. E. Apostel, P. Pisk, A. Casella, L. Dallapiccola, G. Fitelberg, J. C. Paz, E. J. Dent, E. Evans, K. A. Hartmann, H. Scherchen, R. Koczalski, K. B. Jirák, A. Honneger and others, especially A. Hába, his former teacher at the Prague Conservatory, and model, with whom he coopertated closely and who, among all the others, influenced him to the greatest extent. There is no concrete evidence about contacts with S. Prokofiev, though there might have been some, even if cursory, at the time when Osterc dedicated his ballet Illusions to the great master. Apart from Prokofiev, Osterc dedicated his compositions also to other personalities such as H. Scherchen, A. Hába, K. B. Jirák, J. Suk, S, Rascher, A. Honneger, K. Reiner and P. Vladigerov. His contacts were most intensive during the period 1934–1938, when his diverse activities were strongest and successes in the field of composition greatest, which is partly proven also by the fact that foreign publishers (Universal Edition, Ars viva) printed some of his compositions. After 1938 Osterc's contacts with the musical life became fewer and fewer. At least because of two reasons. His health, not very good for a number of years, deteriorated quickly. At the same time, the political situation in Europe grew worse and worse, impairing the ISCM fields of activity. Both facts influenced Osterc's contacts to such a degree that by 1940 they had nearly completely withered away.
Copyright (c) 1975 Dragotin Cvetko
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