Dark Blue World Of The Composer Jaroslav Ježek

1-2 2006 Kultura English
obálka čísla

When he looked at the night sky he didn't see the stars, but he liked the dark blue color. He actually loved that color- probably for a long time- ever since he had undergone three unsuccessful cataract surgeries. And so it is no wonder that he had in his room a dark blue piano, blue furniture and a blue ceiling. This was his dark blue world.

How did his song about the blue world originate? Jan Werich tells the story:

" It was in Brno, at the Fairgrounds. We had wonderful weather and nobody felt like working. The morning emptiness at the theater was not very inspirational , but we needed some new music for our evening performance. We wanted it to be "blues" and asked Jezek to please compose the music- that we would later supply the lyrics. All of us- including Voskovec- were very lazy and not very creative and most of all wanted to go swimming. Not even Jezek had any ideas and said:'If you idiots would give me at least the first line, so I have something to get started with". We were giving him all sorts of ideas- whatever came to mind, until somebody said: " not only is it dark, and I don't see.." Jezek liked it and wanted a second line with a similar rhythm. And so the song came to life and was ready for the evening performance. Even though Jezek (born 25.9.1906) observed in his " blues" " the world melancholically", he was not a sad person. On the contrary- he was an optimist and loved company and lively parties. . He brought with him into the group of artists in "Manes" quite a few modern composers and became the moving force in organizing concerts of modern music in the exhibition hall of "Manes." This group would also go on walking and camping trips, where strict rules were followedno wives or girlfriends were allowed- while living outdoors with music and song. Jezek played the accordion and sang his blues, camping songs, folk melodies and taught his friends the Hussite chorale on Jan Hus' holiday.

Even the many inns and Old Prague beer halls looked different when Jezek sat at the piano to play. The old professors from the Academy of Arts became more approachable and human while enjoying these meetings. His lively personality and charm united the group and their artistic differences and misunderstandings were forgotten . His circle of friends formed a unique group and it was all so easy and simple!

It was the time of economic depression and the approaching danger of fascism. Jezek's songs became very popular. People sang them everywhere- in the streets and at campfires, because they expressed the mood of the times- to fight against oppression, injustice and poverty. The lyrics were provided by Voskovec and Werich. Surely many of our older citizens will still remember the song; " When Millions of Us will March Against the Wind"

Even when he moved to the United States, Jezek got soon in touch with the Czech immigrants here. He sang with them, taught them new songs and founded a new choral group of his compatriots. He was happiest when he was singing with them! Unfortunately, this talented and good man did not get a chance to return to his homeland with his other artistic friends. He did not live to experience the heartfelt welcome in his liberated homeland. He was only 36 years old when he left his dark blue world.

Květa Síglová, Translated by Marie Dolanska

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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