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Musica Boema

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Zdenĕk Lukáš

Zdenĕk Lukáš

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This work bears the designation Opus 137.

General Info

Year: 1977 / 1997
Duration: 18:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alliance Publications
Cost: Score & Parts - $190.00   |   Score Only - $30.00


1. Cantabile - 10:15
2. quarter note = 120 - 8:35


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
C Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV

(Percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Musica Boema was commissioned in 1976 through an American band director named Joel Blahnik for his colleague at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Stanley DeRusha. Blahnik had met Lukáš through a common friend while researching music in Czechoslovakia in 1973, and recognizing Lukáš’s talents, asked the composer to write a work for winds and percussion. Musica Boema is Lukáš’s first work for wind band, and was premiered at the 1978 American Bandmasters Association convention under the direction of DeRusha. It features many Czech folk songs of irregular length and modal tonality.

- Program Note by Nikk Pilato

Musica Boema (Bohemian Music) was commissioned in 1977 and premiered in 1979 by the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Wind Ensemble under the direction of Stanley DeRusha. Because of the hostile relationship between the United States and the Warsaw Pact of nations during those years, the music had to be smuggled out of then-Czechoslovakia for its scheduled premiere.

To my knowledge, the composer never offered program notes or source materials for Musica Boema. Consequently, I do not know whether the composition is derived from folk music, original themes, or a combination of both. The work, consisting of two movements, is highly sectionalized. Formally, it is almost cinematic in nature -- perhaps a reflection of Lukáš’s work in radio theater.

As a descendent of Central Europeans myself, I have long been fascinated by the sociological and artistic consequences of living in a part of the world that has served as a battleground for much of Europe’s history. Bearing in mind this notion, here is my wholly personal narrative of this music:

The first movement begins with alternations of trumpet calls and solemn processions, each growing in numbers and intensity with each repetition. Spurred on by ‘war drums’ (five tom-toms), these give way to other resolute hymns and dances, each one more restive and belligerent.

The opening trumpet calls soon return -- and fade -- as we are drawn in to an entirely different scene: a flute transports us to a dreamlike space suggesting, perhaps, reminiscences of other times and places. Harp, bells, and xylophone create a guileless, almost childlike, atmosphere. This trio, along with droning clarinets, are soon joined by an optimistic quartet of saxophones. As is the case with all good Central Europeans, however, the cheerfulness must soon end as more militant voices -- first heard at the beginning of the movement -- return and demand obeisance.

If the first movement is a call to arms, the second is the battle proper. From the very beginning, martial fanfares grow and spread throughout the ensemble. During these, we hear brief vignettes, as though we briefly glimpse remote events concurrent with the battle in progress: war songs; poignant farewells to loved ones; and the like.

A solo clarinet then calls for quiet, perhaps out of respect for a fallen soldier’s funeral cortège. Outbursts of grief and anger can be heard as the procession passes. Eventually, after oration by the bassoons, the military music resumes. The battles and piece soon end -- victoriously we presume -- as the opening trumpet call from the first movement is heard once more, but this time in a major key. The music is strong, optimistic, and indomitable.

- Program Note by Robert Ponto


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Orchestra (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) – 30 September 2022
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Wind Orchestra (Richard Clary, conductor) - 24 September 2021
  • University of Delaware (Newark) Wind Ensemble (Lauren Reynolds, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • University of Washington (Seattle) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Salzman, conductor) – 30 May 2019
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 20 February 2019
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 7 February 2019
  • Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 8 February 2019
  • University of Colorado Boulder Wind Symphony (Donald J. McKinney, conductor) – 10 February 2017
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor) – 15 March 2016
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) - 24 February 2016
  • International Music Camp Advanced Adult Band (John Tesch, conductor) - 31 July 2012
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Ensemble (David Thomas Kehler, conductor) – 24 March 2012 (CBDNA 2012 Southern Division Conference, Kennesaw, Ga.)
  • Central Winds (Syracuse, N.Y.): A Music Educators' Wind Ensemble (Stephen Peterson, conductor) – 19 December 2009 (2009 Midwest Clinic)
  • Michigan State University Wind Symphony (Stanley DeRusha, conductor) - 11 December 1978 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer