Friday, October 7, 2011:Five Wives

A once-famous pianist and daughter of a composer, enjoying the theatre (left)

Five Wives

It’s Friday, and once again time for our brainteaser. This time we turn the spotlight on the wives of five Czech composers.

It’s interesting to imagine and speculate just what kind of role they played in their husbands’ success. Were they powers behind the throne? Did they quietly concentrate on running a household smoothly in order for their husbands’ star to shine? Were they frustrated musicians themselves?

It’s also interesting to observe that information about musicians’ wives is reported in biographies from the past, but not today. Is that because wives today have their own careers and are considered rather “unrelated” to their husbands’ careers? Or because the divorce rate is higher today, and today’s wife may be tomorrow’s “ex”?

In any case, we think it’s high time that musicians’ spouses are given some credit. So in this brainteaser we spotlight, in just a few words, five of them. Your task is to guess who their husbands were.

Answers are at the bottom of the page. Good luck!

The Wives

Wife No 1: Her husband originally had fallen in love with her older sister. But this composer’s wife, a talented singer and composer herself, married him in 1873 and they had nine children together (three died in infancy).

Wife No 2: She was married to a World War II Army volunteer who fought in France. They were married about two months and then she died. However, her career as a serious composer was already set and continuing to grow even well before her death. She’s gaining more and more well-deserved fame in her own right today.

Wife No 3: Actually, there were two of these for this one composer, but very little is known about them. The composer (c. 1600-1676) was a Czech Catholic aristocrat who helped develop the Baroque style.

Wife No 4: This Slovenian pianist married a young Czech conductor in 1910. She outlived him by 16 years, dying in 1977. Her husband eventually became one of the most famous conductors in the world.

Wife No 5: She studied singing and piano, and toured German cities as a pianist in 1761. She married composer Ernst Wilhelm Wolf in 1770, and became a lady-in-waiting in the Weimar Court. After that she sang only occasionally in public or in private concerts.




The Answers
No. 1: Anna Dvořák (1854-1931), wife of Antonín; No 2: Vitězslava Kapralová (1915-1940), wife of Jiří Mucha; No 3: the two wives of Adam Michna z Otradovic; No 4: Vida Prelesnikova, wife of conductor Václav Talich; No 5: Maria Carolina Benda (1742-1820), daughter of composer František Benda.

Photo Credits: website

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