Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859 - 1951)

Born in Prague, Josef Bohuslav Foerster studied at the Prague Organ School, working thereafter at first as an organist and choirmaster. He followed his singer wife to Hamburg, where he associated with Mahler. After teaching the piano at the Hamburg Conservatory, he moved with his wife to Vienna, where she had been engaged at the Court Opera; he taught the piano privately and continued his existing musical journalism before assuming teaching duties at the Vienna New Conservatory. In 1918 he returned to the new republic of Czechoslovakia, where he held various positions of importance in the musical life of Prague, greatly respected in his extreme old age.

Orchestral Music

Foerster’s admiration for Smetana and Dvořák was coupled with his closeness to the music of Mahler and Bruckner. His Symphony No. 4 ‘Easter Eve’ is a deeply religious work from Foerster’s Vienna period, bringing together the varied musical influences that informed his style. His orchestral works include two violin concertos, a Cello Concerto and four other symphonies. His symphonic poem Meine Jugend (‘My Youth’) dates from 1900.