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Petr Eben

Biography

Born: January 22, 1929; Zamberk, Czech Republic   Died: October 24, 2007; Prague, Czech Republic  
Arguably the foremost Czech composer from the latter twentieth and early twenty first centuries, Petr Eben produced a substantial output largely of vocal, choral, symphonic, organ, piano, and chamber works. In many ways he was the Czech counterpart to Olivier Messiaen, owing to the two composers' common religion -- Roman Catholicism -- and, more importantly, their tendency to write music, both vocal and purely instrumental, inspired by it. Eben Read more survived both imprisonment by the Nazis and decades-long oppression by the Soviet-dominated Czech Communist government. Stylistically, he was uncompromising when others were willing to write politically correct music. Not that Eben's works are especially difficult or inaccessible; most listeners would find his expressive language no further advanced than that of Britten or Messiaen, two composers who may well have influenced him. Eben was considered a master at improvisation on the organ and his music has been widely performed and recorded since about 1980, with his popularity still apparently on the rise.

Eben was born in Zamberk, Czechoslovakia, on January 22, 1929, and grew up in the Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov. He was precocious, studying piano, organ, and cello there from his early youth. After the Nazi invasion and occupation of his homeland, Eben, a Roman Catholic with a Jewish father, was imprisoned in the notorious death camp Buchenwald from 1943 to 1945. In 1948 he enrolled at the Prague Academy of Music, where he studied under Pavel Borkevec (composition) and Frantisek Rauch (piano). He graduated in 1954 and the following year began teaching music history at Prague's Charles University, on whose faculty he remained until 1990.

Eben's earliest large works included his 1954 First Organ Concerto (the Second came in 1984) and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1960-1961). In 1977-1978 Eben taught at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, and thereafter developed other musical ties to England. Throughout his life Eben refused to join the Czech Communist Party and continued openly attending church, thus forfeiting many career advancements. After the Communist government crumbled, however, he was given several important appointments and awards, among them presidency of the Prague Spring Festival (1989) and the Medal of Merit (2002). Among Eben's most important late works is his 1992-1993 oratorio Posvatna znameni (Sacred Symbols). Despite declining health from a stroke in his final years, Eben remained busy, composing mostly organ and choral works. He died in Prague on October 25, 2007. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 55 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Labyrinth / Eben, Martinu Quartet
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4232 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Petr Eben
    Performer:  Karel Kosarek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Martinu String Quartet
    CD: $19.99
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  • 2.
    Organ Fireworks World Tour / Herrick
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68214 Release Date: 04/28/2017  
    Composer:  David Johnson,  Edwin Lemare,  Marco Enrico Bossi,  Louis Alfred James Lefébure-Wély  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Herrick
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    More Chosen Tunes / Matthews
    Label: Gothic Records   Catalog: 49304 Release Date: 04/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  William Byrd,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Petr Eben  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Jane Matthews
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  • 4.
    Ama me / Garajova
    Label: Arcodiva   Catalog: 184 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi,  Igor Stravinsky,  Arvo Pärt,  Sylvie Bodorová  ... 
    Performer:  Eva Garajová,  Ludmila Peterková,  Jana Lahodná,  Marek Švejkar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zemlinsky Quartet
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  • 5.
    The Steinmayer Organ in Nidaros Cathedral
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1075 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Marcel Dupré,  Herbert Howells,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Magne H. Draagen
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  • 6.
    In Times Of Crisis / Adam Brakel
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 956 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Adam Brakel
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 7.
    Platinum
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 957 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Percy Whitlock,  Antonio Soler  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Williams
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  • 8.
    Magdalena  Kozena -  Three Classic Albums
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999702 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Traditional,  Leos Janácek,  Antonín Dvorák,  Erwin Schulhoff  ... 
    Performer:  Magdalena Kozená,  Malcolm Martineau,  Michael Freimuth,  Dorothea Röschmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel,  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre
    CD: $21.99
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  • 9.
    Illuminations / Pfeiffer
    Label: Paraclete Recordings   Catalog: 59 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Larry King,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Petr Eben,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  SharonRose Pfeiffer
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  • 10.
    Petr Eben: Sacred Choral Works
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777627 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Petr Eben
    Conductor:  Matthias Jung
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  • 11.
    Petr Eben: Job For Organ
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 913 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Petr Eben
    Performer:  Andrzej Bialko
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  • 12.
    Ludwig Guttler: Die Jubilaums-edition
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300549 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Neruda,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Mathias Sperger  ... 
    Performer:  Ludwig Güttler
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  • 13.
    Wolfgang Sawallisch In Prague [5-CD Set]
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4140 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Bohuslav Martinu  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
    On sale! $42.99
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  • 14.
    Micromania: 85 Piano Miniatures
    Label: Tyx Art   Catalog: 12009 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Hugo Distler,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Matthias Veit
    CD: $24.99
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  • 15.
    A Cathedral's Voice / Jonathan Ryan
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 941 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  William Byrd,  George Oldroyd,  Petr Eben  ... 
    Performer:  Jonathan Ryan
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 16.
    Bridges Vol 2 - Music By Czech & Romanian Composers / Chamber Melange
    Label: Move   Catalog: 3342 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Constantinescu,  Otmar Mácha,  Tiberiu Olah,  Bohuslav Martinu  ... 
    Performer:  Ivana Tomáskova,  Tamara Smolyar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Melange
    CD: $19.99
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  • 17.
    Eben: Okna, Landscapes Of Patmos, Organ Concerto No 2 / Gunther Rost
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 429 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Petr Eben
    Performer:  Gunther Rost,  Tine Thing Helseth,  Babette Haag
    Conductor:  Gabriel Feltz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Wim Van Hasselt On The Road
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 31811 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexandre Luigini,  Julien-François Zbinden,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Derek Bourgeois  ... 
    Performer:  Wim Val Hasselt,  Eriko Takezawa,  Gustavo Gimeno,  Jörgen Van Rijen  ... 
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  • 19.
    Homage / Carla Edwards
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 918 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Milos Sokola,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Petr Eben  ... 
    Performer:  Carla Edwards
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 20.
    Vanoce - Christmas / Prague Chidren's Choir
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 18148 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Jacob Handl,  Charles Gounod,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Conductor:  Cestmir Stasek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Children's Chorus
    On sale! $17.99
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  • 21.
    Petr Eben: Symphonia Gregoriana / Gabriel Feltz, Gunther Rost
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 643 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Petr Eben
    Performer:  Gunther Rost
    Conductor:  Gabriel Feltz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Smetana, Martinu, Eben: Piano Trios / Florestan Trio
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67730 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu,  Bedrich Smetana,  Petr Eben
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florestan Trio
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  • 23.
    Historic Organs Of Indiana
    Label: Organ Historical   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 12/08/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  William Mathias,  Robert Hebble,  Unspecified,  David Conte  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Ellis,  Edie Johnson,  Marko Petricic,  Carla Edwards  ... 
    Conductor:  Jack L. Fox
    On sale! $51.98
    CD: $39.99
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  • 24.
    Eben: 6 Risonanza For Harp; Haas: Suite For Piano And Oboe / Veverka, Englichova, Kahanek
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 3993 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Petr Eben,  Jan Hanus,  Pavel Haas
    Performer:  Katerina Englichova,  Vilém Veverka,  Ivo Kahánek
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  • 25.
    Sounds Of Splendour - Music For Trumpet & Organ - Faure, Albinoni, Franck, Etc / John Coulton, David Dunnett
    Label: Brass Classics   Catalog: 3009 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Gabriel Fauré,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  David Dunnett,  John Coulton
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $15.99
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