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On Saturday, January 29, the legendary musician and composer Marián Varga, whose name is inextricably linked with the groups Prúdy and Collegium Musicum, should be 75 years old. On that occasion, Radio Devín has been broadcasting a regular new series of programs about its work since last Sunday (January 23).
Marián Varga was born on January 29, 1947 in Skalica. From the age of six, he attended a folk art school, later he was a student at the Bratislava Conservatory, where he studied piano with Roman Berger and composition with Andrej Očenáš for three years. In the summer of 1967 he joined the group Currents. He recorded a cult album with her in December 1968 in the studio of Czechoslovak Radio in Bratislava Bells, ring.
Marián Varga is the author of nine compositions on the first record of Prúdov. However, after the release of the album, he left the band and in the autumn of 1969 founded the first art rock band in Czechoslovakia, Collegium Musicum. He was inspired by the English band Nice, which he saw performing in Prague. Its leader was virtuoso keyboardist Keith Emerson, who later founded the famous group Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP).
Also read: Radio Devín broadcasts the story of Marián Varga in a new series of programs about his work
Collegium Musicum’s first recordings were in July 1970 Tribute to JS Bach a A street full of raincoats. They recorded them in the radio studio in Brno and were published on the Panton label as the first EP record. In 1971 they released the first LP of the Collegium Musicum – it also contained a well-known adaptation of Joseph Haydn’s work Concerto in Don which the group was accompanied by a chamber orchestra.
Since then, the group’s repertoire has consisted mainly of instrumental compositions, both interpretations of classical music by Bartók, Haydn and Stravinsky, as well as its own compositions, mostly by Varga. At the end of 1971, the band recorded a double album Convergencewhich influenced many musicians and gave its name to the famous chamber music festival.
In the 70’s, Varga also devoted himself to songwriting, in collaboration with Pavel Hammelom they released five albums, among them Green mail (1972) a On the second dream program (1977). Two decades later, in 1993, on these recordings, in which a Czech guitarist also took part Radim Hladíkfollowed by an album Swan songswhich was published last year in reissue.
Marián Varga is also the author of the stage music to several television and theatrical productions. He composed music to Dušan Trančík’s films Amulet, Another Love, The Fourth Dimension, A Weekend for a Million. Together with Pavel Hammel they composed music to the first Slovak musical Cyrano from the suburbswhich premiered on October 8, 1977 at the New Stage in Bratislava.
In 1979 after the completion of the albums Continued a He and she Collegia Musica broke up. In the following period, this group existed only as an occasional study formation. She met, for example, when recording an album Divergences (1981). Varga opted for a solo career. In the 1980s, he performed alone or with percussionist Dodo Šošok. In 1984 he released his solo album Still those days.
A series of articles on the work of Marian Varga:
Freedom, fertility, innovation: Marián Varga’s early work still fascinates
The versatile Marian Varga created immortal pearls especially during normalization
Varg’s years 1981 – 1993: Experiments, gloom and farewell to songs
Marian Varga’s final chapter: Returns, balances and eternal rest
Recently, his collaboration and concert activities with Moyzes Quartetwhich on newly released album XLV it also included its composition for its 45th anniversary String Quartet no. 4. Varga released recordings after 2000 Solo In Concert (2003), compilation Tribute to Marián Varga (2003), Marián Varga & Moyzes Quartet (2006), CD and DVD Speak, Memory (2010) and album Marián Varga and Noneto (2011).
On January 13, 2015, President Andrej Kiska awarded him the Pribin Cross II. classes for their contribution to Slovak culture in the field of music art. In January 2017, Marián Varga was awarded the Crystal Wing for his life’s work. He died on August 9, 2017 at the age of 70.
In October 2019, it was created on the initiative of the musician’s wife Jana Vargova and several artists and friends close to him Marian Varga Company. Its main goal is the dignified and non-profit care and enhancement of the musical legacy of Marián Varga. A month later, in November 2019, a CD Box was released Marián Varga Collected Works I. In February 2021 it was published under the title About a boy who tamed devils and found beauty a selection of Marian Varga’s children’s work in the score and on the recording.
Photo: TASR – Michal Svítok