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Dvorský, Rudolf Antonín [Antonín, Rudolf]free

  • Brian Locke

(b March 24, 1899, Königinhof an der Elbe [now Dvůr Králové nad Labem], Bohemia; d Aug 2, 1966, Prague). Czech bandleader, singer, composer, actor, and publisher. He was the central figure of the Czech popular music industry from 1919 to 1948. He began composing as a youth and was soon corresponding with music-hall performers in Prague, leading to his first publications (1917–18) and a formal invitation to join the Červená sedma cabaret (1919). Arriving in Prague, he adopted the pseudonym Dvorský, the adjectival form of his hometown, Dvůr [Králové].

Most of Dvorský’s compositions date from his early years in Prague, where he was a chief proponent of the Tin Pan Alley style. This body of work formed the repertoire of his performance ensembles: the five-piece Melody Makers (formed in 1925) and the ever-increasing Melody Boys (1929–44), which peaked at around 50 instrumentalists. Dvorský’s many film appearances after 1930 as a singing actor and bandleader assured the continuous popularity of his lyrical, sentimental style. In 1932 he purchased the Ultraphon record label and moved its operations to Prague; in 1936 he established a music publishing company, Nakladatelství R.A. Dvorský, which initially specialized in arrangements of the music of jaroslav ježek.

Dvorský quickly recognized the importance of swing: he assisted the careers of virtually every young Czech artist of the 1940s, including traxler, běhounek, zemánková, and vlach, whose music he featured in performances, broadcasts, songbooks, and recordings. Pressured by the Nazi occupiers to contribute performances to the war effort, he disbanded the Melody Boys in 1944. Shortly after liberation, his companies were nationalized by the Communist regime, and he was subsequently imprisoned for attempting defection to the West. He made a brief comeback as a composer and performer before his death.

Works

(selective list)

Published compositions

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Title

Genre

Lyricist

Publication

Black and white

cakewalk

-

Urbánek, 1919

Colorado

intermezzo

-

Urbánek, 1919

Dawson City

two-step

-

Neubert, 1919

The Gromwell Foxtrot, op.107

foxtrot

-

Urbánek, 1920

Chihuahua, op.123

two-step

-

Springer, 1920

Když jsem šel za mou milou, op.141

shimmy

K. Hašler

Hašler, 1923

Královédvorské písničky I and II

songs

J. Gregorka

Springer, 1919

Night of Venedig, op.106

intermezzo

-

Urbánek, 1919

Oklahoma, op.121

two-step

-

Springer, 1919

Příbramské písničky

songs

Q. M. Vyskočil

Springer, 1919

Sing-Sing, op.116

one-step

L. Hvízďálková

E. Starý, 1922

Vysokomýtské písničky

songs

Gregorka

Springer, 1919

Watumwa

intermezzo

-

Springer, 1919

Wyomingian

two-step

-

Urbánek, 1919

Young England, op.115

one-step

-

Neubert, 1920

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Filmography (all roles on screen unless otherwise indicated)

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Title

Role

Director

Date

Dobrý voják Švejk

actor

Frič

1931

Muži v offsidu

singer, bandleader

Innemann

1931

On a jeho sestra

singer

Lamač/Frič

1931

Ze soboty na neděli

actor, singer

Machatý

1931

Kantor Ideál/Le professeur cupidon

bandleader

Frič

1932

Revisor

himself

Frič

1933

Pan otec Karafiát

bandleader

Sviták

1935

Tři muži ve sněhu

bandleader (off-screen)

Slavinský

1936

Mravnost nade vše

composer (off-screen)

Frič

1937

Krb bez ohně

actor

Špelina

1937

Kristián

singer, bandleader

Frič

1939

Eva tropí hlouposti

bandleader (off-screen)

Frič

1939

Těžký život dobrodruha

singer

Frič

1941

Za tichých nocí

singer (off-screen)

G. Hašler

1942

Wir machen Musik

singer

Käutner

1942

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Bibliography

  • L. Dorůžka and I. Poledňák: Československý Jazz: minulost a přítomnost [Czechoslovak jazz: past and present] (Prague, 1967)
  • J. Voldán: Šli tři muzikanti a jiné vzpomínky na ty, o nichž se málo psalo [There once were three musicians, and other reminiscences of those about whom less is written] (Prague, 1970)
  • J. Kotek and J. Hořec: Kronika české synkopy: půlstoletí českého jazzu a moderní populární hudby v obrazech a svědectví současníků [The chronicle of Czech syncopation: a half-century of jazz and modern popular music in pictures and contemporary witness accounts], (Prague, 1975–90)
  • L. Dorůžka: Karel Vacek (Prague, 1979)
  • J. Traxler: Já nic, já muzikant: Vzpomínky z let 1918–1978 [I’m nothing, just a musician: reminiscences from the years 1918–1978] (Toronto, 1980)
  • J. Kotek: O české populární hudbě a jejích posluchačích: Od historie k současnosti [On Czech popular music and its listeners: from history to the present] (Prague, 1990)
  • C. Brandejs: R.A. Dvorský (Hradec Králové, 1997)
  • V. Bittner: R.A. Dvorský: král české taneční hudby [R.A. Dvorský: the king of Czech dance music] (Prague, 1998)
  • J. Kotek: Dějiny české populární hudby a zpěvu [The history of Czech popular music and song], vol. 2: 1918–1968 (Prague, 1998)
  • G. Gössel: Fonogram: Praktický průvodce historií záznamu zvuku [Phonogram: a practical guide to the history of recorded sound], (Prague, 2001–6)
  • L. Dorůžka and D. Miloslav: Karel Vlach: 50 let života s hudbou [Karel Vlach: 50 years of life with music] (Prague, 2003)
  • P. Koura: Swingová mládež a nacistická okupační moc v protektorátu Čechy a Morava [Swing youth and the Nazi occupational forces in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia] (diss., Prague U., 2010)
  • R. Žitný: Herci a herečky před soudem [Actors and actresses on trial] (Prague, 2014)