The most gifted woman composer of the 1930s died at just 25

The most gifted woman composer of the 1930s died at just 25


norman lebrecht

June 11, 2021

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

The Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová died in the early weeks of the German occupation of France at the age of 25. Two months before, she had married Jiri Mucha, son of the fin-de-siècle poster artist. She had everything to live for and yet embraced the agonies of death with great dignity. The mystery and tragedy of her existence has been explored in a couple of novels, but her psychology remains an enigma and her music is hard to categorise.

At first impression it falls midway between Leos Janacek — who was her father’s teacher — and Bohuslav Martinu, who was her lover; yet first impressions are misleading…

Read on here.

And here.

En francais ici.



  • Stuart says:

    Nothing in the review or in the music suggests that she is “THE MOST GIFTED WOMAN COMPOSER OF THE 1930S”

    • Peter San Diego says:

      A sampling of female composers as old as or older than Vitezslava Kapralova and who were alive in the 1930s includes (in order of birth):
      Cécile Chaminade
      Ethel Smyth
      Amy Beach
      Alma Mahler
      Rebecca Clarke
      Nadia Boulanger
      Florence Price
      Germaine Tailleferre
      Henriette Bosmans
      Ruth Crawford Seeger
      Elisabeth Luytens
      Imogen Holst
      Elizabeth Maconchy
      Grazyna Bacewicz
      Peggy Glanville-Hicks
      Vivian Fine
      Julia Hajdu
      It’s fine to call urgent attention to Kapralova’s music, and the headline’s hyperbole is OK with me; one simply shouldn’t take it too seriously, as deciding who is “best” or “most gifted” is an impossible task.

    • BRUCEB says:

      It’s an opinion.

    • Patrick says:

      Ok. Quibble. She was extremely gifted.

  • Lord Bus Stop says:

    I can’t wait to listen to her works this weekend.

  • MacroV says:

    Thank you. Unlike some of the “woke”-poking posts on this site, this is productive – a chance to check out a composer from an interesting time and era who might be worth checking out. Never heard about her during my years in Prague, unfortunately.

  • Sidney Zaslow says:

    I was sure you were talking about Ruth Seeger, though she died quite a while ago.

  • Paul Godfrey says:

    Marion Bauer?? She died in 1955 though.