Nico Dostal

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Nicolaus Josef Michael Dostal or Nico Dostal (27 Nov, 1895 Korneuburg - 25 Oct, 1981 Salzburg), was an Austrian composer of 16 operettas, more than 20 film music scores, church music, choral works and concert music.

The nephew of composer Herman Dostal, Nicol began piano lessons at he age of six. He then studied law at the University of Vienna, following which, due to his love for music, he subsequently graduated as a music student at the Academy of Sacred Music in Klosterneuburg, where he achieved his first attention with his Grossen Messe in 1913. He was first employed in music publishing, and as a freelance arranger for composers Oscar Strauss, Franz Lehár and Robert Stolz, among others. Following World War I he became a theatre conductor in different cities including St.Polten, Innsbruck, Vienna, Czernowitz and Salzburg, where he conducted everything from the farce to the opera. He arrived in Berlin, with its innumerable theatres and three opera houses, in 1923, where he became interested in light music. Whilst working as a Kapellmeister, Dostal wrote the music for the film Kaiserwalzer (Emperor's Waltz) and then enjoyed great success with his first operetta Clivia, which brought him world-wide fame. This was followed by Die Vielgeliebte (1934) (The Much-Loved), Extrablatter (1937), and Die Ungarische Hochzeit (1939) (The Hungarian Wedding).

In 1940 he collaborated with the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra when he recorded his compositions for Hans Steinhoff's film Die Geierwally in Berlin's Bach Hall. In his autobiography Ans Ende deiner Traume kommst du nie he recalled Wilhelm Furtwangler's initial resistance about having his musicians participate in a film production. In 1943 he composed the music of the film "Das Lied der Wüste" ("The Desert Song") (1939) and songs for Zarah Leander including Fatme, erzähl' mie ein Märchen, Sagt dir eine schöne Frau veilleicht and Ein paar Tränen werd' ich weinen um dich, and later Schwarz auf weiß (Black on White) (1943) and songs for Elfriede Datzig and Hans Holt: Da schau, ein Rauchfangkehrer, with lyrics by Fritz Koselka.

In 1942 he had married the coloratura soprano Lillie Claus, by whom he had one son, Roman Dostal, later also a conductor.

After World War II Nicol Dostal moved to Vienna, in which time he formed the Ausseerland Orchestra (named after his beloved Ausseerland where he and his wife and many other artists had found refuge from the [terror bombings] of Berlin and Vienna) from the now unemployed musicians of the former Bruckner Orchestra in Linz. They premiered his famous orchestral work In meinen Bergen (In My Mountains) at the Ausseerland Festival held in 1945. Eight years later he moved to Salzburg where he continued composing.

Nicol Dostal always remembered his work with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as one of his most magnificent musical experiences: "Their playing was heavenly".

Writing in 1979 Hans-Ulrich Barth, the Director of the opera and concert department of NDR television, described Dostal as "an uncommonly vital, creative musician who cannot be pressed into any conventional mold.....this composer cannot be classified precisely because of his originality."