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František Sláma (1923 - 2004) was born in Herálec pod Žákovou horou (Herálec below Žák mountain) in the Moravian Highlands. At the age of six, he sang in the chapel choir and later played the violin and trumpet in his father's local band in his native village. However, in the poor region of the Moravian Highlands there was never any thought of him starting any serious musical education. He worked in the forest and in the quarry until the age of 18. His meeting with the famous cello teacher Karel Pravoslav Sádlo proved to be a turning point in his life. Sádlo "picked him up off the street", supported him, intro­duced him to the cello and tutored him for the Conservatoire in Prague (1942-1948, cello with Karel Pravoslav Sádlo, chamber music with Václav Talich). Sláma completed his studies at the Prague Academy of Music in 1952. He was already a member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra by this time (1948-1981, from 1962 co-principal cello and cello section leader).

Václav Talich encouraged Sláma's enthusiasm for chamber music. The opportunity to play under the legendary conductor in three different music ensembles and to have private tuition with him over the next ten years was something of a miracle for the young musician. Talich, alongside Karel Pravoslav Sádlo and later Milan Munclinger, had a lasting influence on Sláma's musi­cal development and artistic views.

During the next 45 years Sláma performed with leading chamber ensembles, his repertoire ranging from the Renaissance era to contemporary music. In 1946 he was a founding member of Talich's Czech Chamber Orchestra, between 1953-1976 the viola da gamba player in Pro Arte Antiqua (one of the oldest European ensembles focused on medieval and Renaissance music) and 1954-1997 a member of the ensemble Ars Rediviva, whose performances provided an important impulse in the revival of Baroque music in Czechoslovakia.

Sláma made numerous recordings with these ensembles (for Supraphon, Columbia, DGG, Ariola, Nippon, etc.), which received several awards both in Czechoslovakia and abroad (e.g. Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros). He participated in all Ars Rediviva LP recordings (cello and viola da gamba solo parts, cello continuo and principal cello in orchestral compositions). Milan Munclinger dedicated his reconstruction of J.S.Bach's Concerto in G minor (based on BWV 1056 and 156) to František Sláma (recorded with Supraphon, 1980). Sláma also participated in premiere performances of contemporary compositions (e.g. Ilja Hurník: Sonata da camera, Jan Tausinger: Evocations).

He was a teacher at the Prague Conservatoire from the 1970s onwards. He also wrote about music and musicians, collaborated with Czech Radio (introducing Jordi Savall to Czech audiences, for example). His book Z Herálce do Šangrilá a zase nazpátek (From Herálec to Shangri-La and Back Again) was published in 2001 - reminiscences about the Prague music scene from the 1940s to the 1990s, also Sláma's professional colleagues, conductors (e.g. Václav Talich, John Barbirolli, André Cluytens, Herbert von Karajan, Paul Kletzki, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Rafael Kubelík, Lorin Maazel, Charles Mackerras, Igor Markevitch, Lovro von Matačić, Yevgeny Mravinsky, Charles Munch, Antonio Pedrotti, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leopold Stokowski) and other artists he met (Pierre Fournier, Maurice André↗, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Enrico Mainardi, Milan Munclinger, André Navarra, Rudolf Nureyev, David Oistrakh, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Sviatoslav Richter, Josef Sudek, Paul Tortelier, etc).

The František Sláma archive collection donated to his native village Herálec consists of more than 5,000 negatives and photos, and over 150 hours of authentic recordings and documents on the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Václav Talich, Milan Munclinger and Ars Rediviva, among others. 

 

   

 Karel Pravoslav Sádlo on František Sláma↗

For English transcription click here

 

 

František Sláma (19 November 1923 - 5 May 2004)

 With André Gertler (1), Karel Ančerl (1-3), Yehudi Menuhin (3), Václav Neumann (4,5) and with colleagues from the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (1-5) 

         

With Gennady Rozhdestvensky (1,2), Václav Neumann (3, 4), Karel Ančerl (5) and with colleagues from the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra  (1-5)

With András Adorján and Milan Munclinger (1,2), with colleagues from Ars rediviva (3), with Jiří Bělohlávek (4), Aaron Copland (5), Lovro von Matačić (6-8) and with colleagues from the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra  (4-8)

       
       

With Leopold Stokowski (1),  Antonio Pedrotti (2), Libor Pešek (3), Henryk Szeryng (4), Václav Talich (5-7), Pierre Fournier (6), with colleagues from the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (1-4, 7) and from Václav Talich's Czech Chamber Orchestra (5,6,8).

Photographs©Mária Kudasová, Jiří Všetečka, František Sláma Archive 

 

 

Parts of František Sláma's reminiscences/archive were used, among other:

  • in the music documentary Chief Conductors of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Director, scriptwriter and director of photography Jan Mudra, producers Czech Television and MAX TV-FILM, Prague, 2006. First broadcasted by the Czech Television, channel CT2 in 2006
  • on the first ever CD presentation of the Czech Museum of Music's collections. Published by the Czech Museum of Music, Prague, 2006
  • in the publication Czech Philharmonic 100 Plus 10, Yvetta Koláčková and various authors, English translation by Karolina Vočadlo Hughes. Published by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and by the Czech Philharmonic. Prague : Academia, 2006
  • at the exhibition With the Czech Philharmonic Around the World. Organized by the Czech Philharmonic, Curator Petr Kadlec. Prague, Rudolfinum Hall, 2006
  • in the monograph Václav Talich. Šťastný i hořký úděl dirigenta, Milan Kuna. Prague : Academia, 2009
  • in the book RR Plus: Legendary Players in the Czech Philharmonic. Prague : Czech Philharmonic, 2009
  • in various issues of the Czech Philharmonic's magazine Rudolfinum Revue. Published by the Czech Philharmonic between 2001 and 2009
  • in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's 90th season programme brochure, 2011/2012
  • in the Czech Music Dictionary of Musicians and Institutions. Petr Macek and various authors. Praha - Brno: Koniasch Latin Press - Masaryk University, 2012 (http://www.ceskyhudebnislovnik.cz/slovnik)
  • in Czech Radio broadcasting, mostly in programmes on the nationwide music station Čro 3 Vltava, and also on stations D-Dur, Leonardo, Proglas (e.g. programmes A Day with Mozart, Euphonia, Telefonotéka, Osudy)
  • on the website of the Talich Philharmonia Prague (Talich Orchestra) http://www.talich.com/vaclav-talich0
  • on the Bach Cantatas Website; subjects Milan Munclinger, Viktorie Švihlíková, Ars Rediviva, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (http://www.bach-cantatas.com)
  • on the website dedicated by Jan Leontsky to Maurice André: Maurice André. A life for the trumpet (http://www.maurice-andre.fr)
  • on the website dedicated by Denis Verroust (Association Jean-Pierre Rampal ) to Jean-Pierre Rampal (http://jprampal.com)
  • on the website dedicated by Antoine Servetti to Karel Ančerl (http://www.karel-ancerl.com)
  • on the website dedicated by Thierry Vagne to Rafael Kubelík (http://vagne.free.fr/kubelik)
  • on the website dedicated by Wim de Haan to Tatiana Nikolayeva (http://www.tatiana-nikolayeva.info)

 


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