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June 18, 2011



Zdenek Liska made some beautiful music, but this is just silly. Svankmajer's more recent work is arguably much better than the 9 shorts he did with Liska, and proceeds from an even more remarkable collaboration with sound designer Ivo Spalj. Better than Morricone? Unequivocally, no. Liska's range is limited and his work in contemporary pop idioms is hopelessly wooden. The truly remarkable thing about his music is the way that he adapts the folk and courtly traditions of central Europe for the cinema screen - nobody else does such great things with waltz time.

Liska's music deserves an insightful celebration. This article is not that thing.

Cory Vielma

Hi Jim,

Sorry that you had some issues with the article, but I appreciate you taking the time to read it and post such a well-formulated response.

I think part of your dissatisfaction could perhaps stem from what you perceive as my intentions. The article was intended mostly as an introduction for anyone unfamiliar with his work, and it is clear that you are already quite knowledgeable on the subject.

I’m not writing to respond your comment point by point, as much of it is subjective and I respect your opinion, but I will respond to the whole “better than Morricone?” thing.

Knowing full well that it would be contentious, I included my comment about Morricone & Rota in the article for two reasons: first, I wanted to start a conversation, and second, since I was aiming for people unfamiliar with his work, I wanted to show the caliber of composer I was discussing, and comparing Liska with two other (perhaps better-known) film music greats was my way of showing that he was worthy of being discussed in such company. Saying that Liska is “unequivocally” not better than Morricone strikes me as being undeservedly dismissive. Considering the comparable virtuosity and variety of work, the inventiveness and experimentation in both cases, how well each is able to translate the emotion on the screen into music, not to mention the sheer volume of both bodies of work, I find it hard to believe that even though you clearly think of Liska as the lesser talent, you would not consider them to at least be worthy contemporaries, when considered objectively.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the video collection more than you enjoyed the article.

Best regards


Here in french the titles and realisators of movies for whom Liska wrote the music (from 1960):
"Monsieur principe supérieur" (Krejc…ík, 1960) ; "La colombe blanche" (Vla…il, 1960) ; “Le baron de Crac” (Zeman, 1961) ; "Le labyrinthe du coeur" (Krej…ík, 1961) ; "Le piège du diable" (Vlá…cil, 1961) ; "Tombée de la lune" (Podskalský, 1961) ; "Le chant du pigeon gris" (Barabaš, 1961) ; “Les horizons verts” (Novak, 1962) ; “Icarus XB1” (Polak, 1963) ; “La mort s’appelle Engelchen”(Kadár-Klos, 1963) ; "Sur la corde" (Novák, 1963) ; "Trio angelos" (Barabaš, 1963) ; "Les tambours" (Novák, 1964) ; "Si près du ciel" (Brebera, 1963) ; “L’accusé” (Kadár-Klos, 1964) ; “Katia et le crocodile” (Plivová-Šimková, 1965) ; “La boutique dans la grand-rue” (Kadár-Klos, 1965) ; “Marketa Lazarova” (Vlá…cil, 1966) ; "Les gens des roulottes" (Fri…c, 1966) ; "Tango pour un ours" (Barabaš, 1966) ; "Le pique-nique" (Sís-Smocek, 1966) ; "La vallée des abeilles" (Vlá…cil, 1967) ; "La fuite" (Skalský, 1967) ; "La douce" (Barabas, 1967) ; "Honneur et gloire" (Bo…can, 1968) ; "Les nuits de Prague" (Brde…ka, Schorm, Makovec, 1968) ; "La balade des 7 pendus" (Holly) ; "L'incinérateur de cadavres" (Herz, 1968) ; "Adelaïde" (Vlá…cil, 1969) ; "Adrift" (Kadár/Klos, 1969) ; "Un monsieur ridicule" (Kachyňa, 1969) ; "Fête au jardin botanique" (Havetta, 1969) ; '"Les fruits du paradis" (Chytilová, 1969) ; "Esope" (Valtchanov, 1969) ; "Les doux jeux de l'été passé" (Herz, 1969) ; "Je sauterai encore par dessus les flaques" (Kachyňa, 1970) ; "The angel levine" (Kadár, 1970) ; "La tour de cuivre" (Hollý, 1970) ; "L'arc de la reine Dorothée" (Schmidt, 1970) ; "La chance" (Valtchanov, 1971) ; "Plume d'aigle" (Hollý, 1971) ; "Les jeux trompeurs de l'amour" (Krej…ík, 1971) ; "Le suspect" (Krej…ik, 1972) ; "Le train pour la station ciel" (Kachyňa, 1972) ; "Les lys des champs" (Havetta, 1972) ; "Les jours de la trahison" (Vávra, 1973) ; "Chronique d'un été chaud" (Sequens, 1973) ; "Le péché de Katarina Padichová" (Hollý, 1973) ; "Adam et Otka" (Dvora…ek, 1973) ; "L'amour" (Kachyňa, 1973) ; "Sokolovo" (Vávra, 1974) ; "Qui sort avec la pluie" (Hollý, 1973) ; "Dernier bal à la piscine de Roznov" (Novák, 1974) ; "L'homme de Londres" (Bo…can, 1974) ; "Aux armes, rebelles" (Lettrich, 1974) ; "Ainsi commence l'amour" (Bo…can, 1975) ; "La fiancée aux beaux yeux" (Schmidt, 1975) ; "La nage des poulains" (Bo…can, 1975) ; "La fièvre" (Hollý, 1975) ; "La petite sirène" (Kachyňa, 1976) ; "La libération de Prague" (Vávra, 1976) ; "Les ombres d'un été brûlant" (Vlá…il, 1977) ; "Trilogie des temps préhistoriques" (Schmidt, 1977) ; "Histoire d'amour et d'honneur" (Vávra, 1977) ; "Le coup de foudre" (Smoljak et Podskalský, 1978) ; "En attendant la pluie" (Kachyňa, 1978) ; "Plus fort que la peur" (Čech, 1978) ; “Et je vais courir jusqu’au bout du monde” (Solan, 1979) ; "La mort cousue sur mesure" (Hollý, 1979) ; "Les otages de Bella Vista" (Sequens, 1980) ; "Signum laudis" (Hollý, 1980) ; "Où a disparu le courrier" (Fuka, 1981).

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