Sunday, November 8, 2015

a biographical essay by David Herter


Zdeněk Liška was a composer of tremendous intensity and imagination. He devoted himself to motion pictures in Communist Czechoslovakia, writing scores for science fiction (Ikarie XB-1), surrealism (Punch and Judy, The Ossuary), neo-realist dramas (At the Terminus), comedies (Cintamani and the Cheater), classics of the Czechoslovak New Wave (The Shop on Main Street, The Cremator). Nothing seemed beyond his reach, and he often dominated the soundtrack to his own vivid ends. On at least one occasion, Liška single-handedly re-edited and saved a film, Karel Zeman’s classic The Deadly Invention, credited by author James Blaylock as the inspiration for Steampunk. His scores are among Cinema’s most deeply odd: Kinetic, witty, tuneful, terrifying.


Liška (LEESH-ka, “Fox”) was born in 1922 in the mining town of Smečno, 30 km west of Prague. His father and grandfather played in wind bands, a genre that haunts his work and is often the reason for its melancholy (the trumpet was said to recall for him the colliery bands at funerals). As a youth he learned trombone, piano, accordion, violin and trumpet. He wrote his first song in high school. He once remarked to a colleague, “What else could you do in Smečno apart from make music?”

During the Nazi occupation he studied at Prague Conservatory, intending to become a conductor. After graduation in 1944 he rode out the war in the town of Slany, 25 km to the northwest.

In 1946, at the invitation of a former teacher, Liška joined the newly-created film studio at Baťa Shoe Company (“Shoemaker to the World”), working on commercials and promotional films. His prodigious talent—he would score sixty short films in five years—caught the attention of animators Karel Zeman and Hermína Týrlová in the Stop Motion Department, both near the beginning of their careers. In the company town of Zlin, renamed Gottwaldov in 1949, Zeman and Liška would collaborate on the beloved Mr. Prokouk puppet films, including Mr. Prokouk, A Horseshoe for Luck (1946), Mr. Prokouk In Temptation (1947), and Mr. Prokouk, the Office Clerk (1948), stories of an everyday fellow, mustached and wearing a pork pie hat, said to be modeled on Zeman. Liška provided music not far from Carl Stalling’s for Bugs Bunny.


In 1948, the Communists staged a bloodless coup in Czechoslovakia with Moscow’s blessing. The next fifteen years were difficult ones, with show trials to rival the worst of the Soviet system. Nearly 180 innocent people were executed, many more imprisoned. By the estimate of an on-the-scene reporter for the New York Times, Czechoslovakia was the most Stalinist country in eastern Europe; things were worse in Prague than in Moscow. The film industry was reduced to making short films, documentaries and docudramas about the collective society.

For the next decade Liška mostly kept his head down, acting in comedic shorts like Bed of 5HP (1948) and honing his skills at the editing suite, a talent that would play an oversize role in his film music career. The few scores he wrote were well-behaved.

For the fairy tale puppet film King Lavra (1950), Zeman’s more lengthy follow-up to the Prokouk shorts, Liška produced neoclassicism reminiscent of composers Darius Milhaud or Paul Hindemith. In A Treasure on Bird Island (1953), the chime-drenched rhapsody might have come from the pen of Modest Mussorgsky.

Only into the Sixties, as the absolute grip of Communist repression began to temporarily falter, would Liška find his powerful and peculiar style.


The waltz and polka, and the wind bands of Smečno, remained strong influences throughout his career, especially in sentimental situations.

Igor Stravinsky, the Russian modernist, is found in the polyrhythms and pratfalls. His L'Histoire du soldat (1918) hovers over Liška's The Shop on Main Street (1965); Liška wrote his own rollicking version of the “Shrovetide Fair” tableau from Stravinsky's Petrushka (1910) for Káťa and the Crocodile (1966).

The Moravian composer Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was an avowed passion of Liška’s, and it shows in his first major score for a feature film, the remarkable and melancholic At the Terminus (1957), with its penchant for Janáčekian perpetuo moto and anxious melodic fragments. The film also features an organ toccata reminiscent of the solo in Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (1926), while the hunting horns of a later film, Three Golden Hairs of Old Know (1963), recall those in Janáček’s The Adventures of Fox Sharp Ears (1921).  (Who could doubt that Liška was aware of his fellow countryman's Fox opera?)

And Arnold Schoenbergthe Monster of Modern Music—made an impression, if only for his belief that any sound can be combined with any sound. It would be the précis of Liška’s career.

Arnold Schoenberg, Leoš Janáček and Igor Stravinsky
By 1963, when censorship began to relax in the era leading up to the Czechoslovak Spring (Allen Ginsberg was elected King of the Mayday Festival in 1965), Liška's music resembled less the Bugs Bunny of Carl Stalling than the avante-garde of Karlheinz Stockhausen: Whirligig antics joined to a fierce sense of sonic possibility.

“Zdeněk’s approach [in his mature films] was first to get rid of the whole realistic sound design,” recounted Jan Schmidt in the 2000 documentary Zdeněk Liška, written and directed by Petr Ruttner for Czech television. “Which meant that he discarded most, or at least over fifty percent, of the live recorded sound. And he started creating his own sound loops. There’d be these strange wailings and patterings and so on, which he somehow mixed together. All sorts of unreal sounds, things for which there was no real musical notation. And on top of that he started composing music proper.”  This technique, with its ties to electro-acoustic or musique concrète, popular in the avante-garde, would be a formidable tool in his toolkit, while his use of choir with orchestra, often in wordless singing, or vocalise, would become Liška’s trademark.

“He was actually the first composer to use the human voice without words as an integral part of instrumental music,” claimed choirmaster and colleague Pavel Kuhn, also in the 2000 documentary. “As he said himself, the voice adds a certain expressiveness and emotion to the instrumental play, making it more human.”

The results might be contemporary Prague pop, such as the carnival chanteuse who opens The Angelos Trio (1964); a diminished, haunted and haunting aura of voices as in Legend of the Silver Fur (1973); or a lush serenade as in The Bow of Little Queen Dorothy (1971), one of the scores where he comes close to the Italian master Ennio Morricone, the film composer he most resembles, though the resemblance is small.


Beginning with The Shop on Main Street (1965), a tale of burgeoning fascism in a Bohemian village, Liška employed the chorus as percussion, having the singers whisper, chant, or make the odd noise. It’s an unnerving technique he would explore more fully in the next four years, culminating in the New Wave’s ultimate trip, Vera Chytilová’s Fruit of Paradise (1969 released in 1970), a tone poem on the theme of Adam and Eve that provided Liška with a vast canvas and very little consequential dialog to contend with. He responded with nearly eighty minutes of delirious invention.

The range in his choral work is remarkable.

Consider The Cremator (1969), a darker-than-dark tale of a funeral director tasked with engineering the Final Solution, where Liška summons the spirit of Nazi kitsch, the voices providing a waxy, smothering haze, pervasive as monstrous heaps of flowers.

Or the anthology horror film Nights of Prague (1969) and the episode “The Last Golem” (directed by renowned animator Jiri Brdecka) where Liška conjures the harsh exoticism of Hebrew chant, heavy with male choir, and a soprano who becomes the voice of a revenant beauty spectrally singing the Golem-maker to her side. Film veers toward true melodrama or oratorio, as dialog in the film becomes the sung words.

For the sequence showing the creation of the Golem, Liška whips up Stygian choir, gongs and percussion into a frenzy, overlaid with loops of whispering voices, like the shem speaking its name. The result is a tour de force that serves as some odd Eastern-European counterpart to Franz Waxman’s “Creation of the Bride” sequence in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

In the historical anti-epic Marketa Lazarová (1967), his masterpiece in long form, Liška uses the soprano as an instrument of rites profound, with music entrancingly vivid, often harsh, sometimes melting into raptureIt seems at one moment of the 13th century then profoundly not, startling with fierce otherworldly expression, as befits an intrusion of the Pagan into the Christian. It’s a turbulence made beautiful as much by Liška’s hazy orchestral colors as by his hypnotic melodies, full of gnomic twists and turns.

Liška also served uncredited as sound designer on the film. Throughout, the eerie vocal effects, including looped dialog placed uncannily near or far from the characters in the film frame, add a hallucinatory quality to many scenes.


Zdeněk Liška's music thrived in unrealities.

In the claustrophobic space opera Ikarie XB-1 (1963), based on the novel The Magellanic Cloud by Stanislaw Lem, he dehumanizes the orchestra with drums, piano, marimba and electronics in off-kilter rhythms. Denuded melodies wriggle like ancient computer programs, cymbal strikes blossom in reverse, and tape loops spin left and right, providing the bleeps and bloops of trippy sci-fi. It’s musique concrète from the 22nd century. (Curiously, there's a moment when one of our astronauts plays a piano piece by the Swiss composer Arthur Honegger (1892-1955), well known for his affinity with mechanical music in works like Pacific 231).

For Zeman’s Baron Prášil (1962), a retelling of the Munchausen legend, Liška offers a straightforward orchestral score suggestive of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, interspersed with witty tableau, rich with imagery.

Perhaps most memorable is the set-piece inside the belly of a whale, where the crew of a stranded galleon resides in one of Liška’s grand sound realms—cathedral bells like the bells of Prague, tolling at odd intervals, and literally sunken. Throughout, Liška’s sound design is as important as the music, imbuing scenes with an eerie unreality, such as the clink of champagne glasses on the lunar surface, against the winding down of a gramophone playing a French anthem.

In Zeman’s classic The Deadly Invention (known also as The Invention of Destruction and The Fabulous Adventures of Jules Verne, 1958), Liška was responsible for more than just the sound design and music; he was crucial to the assembly of this Ur-artifact of the modern-day Steampunk movement. Said author James Blaylock in a recent essay, “Zeman, to my mind, is the true grandfather of Steampunk, although it’s unlikely he ever heard the term, since he died a year or so after K.W. Jeter coined it.”



A ship sunk by a mysterious vessel. . . an underwater realm from which the villain plans his domination. . .a secret base in a smoldering volcano. Though the protagonist and antagonist are named Simon Hart and Count Artigas, in Zeman’s hands they’re not unlike Professor Aronnax and Captain Nemo. The sinister submarine is not unlike the Nautilus; the volcano island is more than a bit mysterious. A child has fallen asleep while reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Mysterious Island, and this is their dream.

Where Karel Zeman began as sort of Eastern European version of George Pal with his Puppetoons, he would end up as the triumphant
Méliès-like fabricator of fairy tales and science fiction, using techniques from the dawn of Cinema to tell robinsonades and scientifiction tales from the pen of Jules Verne. In The Deadly Invention he breathes life into one of Verne’s lesser-known novels, Facing the Flag.

At his touch, images very much like the original illustrations by Léon Benett and Édouard Riou come to life by use of live action, models, animation, paintings on glass, and the charming gimmick of carrying the hatchings of illustrative shading into every aspect of the image; from wardrobe to walls, from ocean to sky.

Zdeněk Liška provides a counterpart in the sound design, including the primitive electronics of musique concrète.

The manner in which he carries Zeman’s clever unrealities into the realm of music, often through onomatopoeia, is something of a tour de force, especially for a full-length motion picture. Pounding tympani are canon shots. The volcano island wreathes itself not only with smoke but also the pall of trombones and double bass, sometimes rousing into a theme, sometimes not. (“A melancholy place, even for my work,” says the Captain Nemo). Submarines glide to sustained organ tones, with the throb and zing of an old radio play. And the organ, to remind us of the airless realm, rarely stops to take a breath.

The World Above is portrayed by all manner of steam-driven instruments, barrel organ, calliope, train whistle, ship horn, with accent from the French orgue à manivelle and orgue de Barbarie ("Barbary organ").
The World Below is a continuum of sleepy organ, vibraphone, celeste, dim as green syrup, a slow pivot between two notes, sometimes among three, painting an atmosphere of suspension and distortion.

Not that everything is onomatopoeia. Liška provides a genial score of chamber—even music box—proportion, with the harpsichord as our somewhat melancholic tour guide. Our composer is willing to indulge in colorful effects, such as the whirling strings which raise alarm as a ship-wreck survivor is plucked from the water. A wistful promenade, vaguely nautical, and said to be modeled on a tune from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, accompanies scenes of Journey, with the English horn plaintively striding the Voyage Extraordinaire forward. Turned on its side, the theme might be a dirge.

The first showing in Prague went poorly.

“When we screened the cut,” recalled Antonin Horak, the director of photography, “the response was not very encouraging. People found it too confusing and too long. So, Zeman sat down with Zdeněk Liška, and then Liška recut it and threw out anything that wasn’t essential, and gave the film a whole new tempo. Then of course it was a great success. And we all thanked Liška.”

Said director Vladimir Sis, "I remember the arguments Liška used to have with Zeman, which he'd usually end by saying, 'Okay, Karel, you shot the film, I'll do the sound. But I can tell you it'll be lousy and you won't use it.' End of discussion, just like that."

For At the Terminus the previous year, Liška "did not just write the music, he was also the author of the entire soundtrack, where background sounds and the music played an equal role. He put it all together," according to Professor Vaclav Macek of the University of Performing Arts, Bratislava.

Antonin Horak’s surreal puppet film Alarm (1962) was another movie foundering when Liška stepped aboard. “We were having a bit of trouble with it,” said the director of his first film, which seems to concern a spa town located somewhere between Whoville and a Tintin dreamscape. “It wasn’t quite getting across what we wanted to say. And then Zdeněk Liška took over. He edited it, gave it pace and rhythm, put some various special sound effects, all sorts of whistles and squeaks and bangs that’s his great specialty. And you know, I hardly recognized that film. He completely transformed it.”


For Liška, meetings with the director often seemed unnecessary or, if they were insisted upon, were ignored by Liška after he had returned to Gottwaldov from Prague to compose at his home editing table.

According to director Jiří Krejčík in the 2000 documentary for Czech television, “You never had to explain that you wanted music at this point or that point, or how long it should go on. It just wasn’t necessary. You only had to say ‘Zdeněk, I’ve made this film. Could you please write some music for it?’  And that was enough. He had an unerring sense of where a film needed music. Where it should start, where it should stop, and what effect it should create.”

Some directors learned not to argue with him. Others found their own ideas for music ignored. When director Martin Holly signed on with Liška, he asked if the composer had read the script and knew what it was about. Liška promised he’d have a look. Later, Holly pressed, asking for him to at least play something on the piano. Liška replied, “Look, Mr. Holly, I can play something for you, but it will be for clarinet or saxophone or violin, so it won’t mean anything to you.” 

Asked when he would be able to hear the musical score, Liška reportedly told his director, “When we record it.” 


Hermína Týrlová, nicknamed the “Mother of Stop Motion,” approached animation from a more surreal perspective than Karel Zeman, her former partner in the now-nationalized Baťa Stop Motion department. She worked with everyday objects like kites, scarves and yarn, creating worlds utterly fantastic yet full of an odd verisimilitude. Liška’s music for Týrlová’s early shorts, Spot the Ball (1956), Knot in the Handkerchief (1958) and Pasácek Pigs (1958) were relatively tame, with familiar hints of Stravinskian neoclassicism. But in the early to mid-Sixties, and the years leading up to Alexander Dubček and his Socialism with a Human Face, Týrlová and Liška would reach new heights of the bizarre.
Týrlová and Liška

In Blue Pinafore (1965) an origami dove frees the title pinafore from a clothesline strung between abstracted sculptures. They dance in the sky, are pursued by a serpent of soot, wander the ruins of a futuristic city. Finally, they seem to strike at the wall of the universe, rupturing a hole into another dimension that sucks the soot serpent away. The pinafore sacrifices itself to block the hole, becoming another star in the firmament.

Blue Pinafore again demonstrates Liška’s use of onomatopoeia, something no doubt impressed on him when composing for Zeman’s Mr. Prokouk cartoons—this charming desire to incorporate horn honks, chugging locomotives, screaming hawks and what have you, within the music itself.

Here, he matches Týrlová’s shivery yet fluid figures with music that gives voice to lightning and thunder, pinafore and paper dove. Music becomes sound effect, sound effects become music, and Liška mixes these memorably with the traditional orchestra.

In the bluesy lullaby that opens the film, and the drifting, bleating tones that paint the scene, Liška hints at an auditory world recalled before infancy, filtered through amniotic fluid or bright-burnished in the first moments’ listening to the cacophony of the world.


Where most film composers would count themselves lucky to have one or two fruitful partnerships with a visionary director during the course of a career, Liška had at least four: Animators Zeman and Týrlová, František Vláčil (Marketa Lazarová, The White Dove) and the surrealist Jan Švankmajer.

Švankmajer (b. 1934) is a spiritual descendant of Giuseppe Arcimboldo  (1526-1593), that magicianly painter from the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, whose portraits of the sovereign and his Court were composite images in the style called Mannerism, clever spatchcocks of vegetables, fish and flowers that cohered as both portraits and symbolic visual puns.

“I live in a special kind of Prague by which I mean influenced,” Švankmajer said in the 1990 documentary Jan Švankmajer, Tales from Prague. “It is the Prague of Rudolf II. I believe Rudolf’s personality left a very strong mark.”

Liška was a part-time resident of this Magic Prague, at times serenading it, singing hymns to it, drowning it in orchestral kitsch.

Švankmajer's focus is Prague’s nightside, his style a mixture of live action, puppetry and stop motion animation. His actors are often the city’s detritus: Tintype figures, old brick, bones, barred windows, windows like eyes, fantastically rutted and expressively decaying walls, broken violins, faded newspaper advertisements, beetles, old scientific journal illustrations, anatomized human bodies, marionettes, candlewax; all of it brought to eerie life with Liška’s music.

“In the films I made with Liška there wasn’t much action as such,” said Švankmajer, who would work with the composer on nine films, including Historia Naturae, Suita (1967), Don Juan (1970) and Jabberwocky (1971). “It was he who put all the main action into music. Rhythm was always very important for me, and he found rhythms in them I had no idea were there. It was fascinating. He’d pick out a whole lot of subtler rhythms I was quite unaware of. ‘Unconscious rhythms’ he called them.” 

Et Cetera (1966) presents us with a puzzle: Hieratic images of man and beast compelled to infernal play and transposition, the one snapping a whip while the other responds, standing on its hands, on its tail, on its horns, regaining human form while the human devolves into beast, until the whip is plucked from its paw and the cycle begins again. The visual rules become clear if not entirely graspable. In the three tableau, which evolve from charcoal to more anthropomorphic watercolor to negative outline containing an antique illustration, Liška’s music provides structure; his music and musique concrète operate much like the blow of a referee’s whistle, demarking the innings or ritornello of evolution and its opposite. With his patented squeaks, whistles and bangs, Liška is partner to the promenade, providing the aleph and mem and lav of the dance.

Punch and Judy (1966) finds an unseen puppeteer enacting the Agon of the title to the wheezing of a fairground carousel organ. The puppets wrangle over possession of a live guinea pig, shown to us in grotesque close-ups of bulging eyes and teeth. The violence expected of them materializes in startling percussive shots, to which Liška pairs clapping hands, ringing bells, a tremulous note on a toy organ, and a percussive choir with whispers, ahhhhs and ooooohs and soft swoons.

Very ably, Liška invokes the soundtrack of a nightmare.


Zdeněk Liška cut the memorably-odd figure in Prague.

Of enormous girth, he was a “bit of a Falstaff,” according to director Martin Holly. He possessed a sparkling, mirthful countenance, always seemed to be carrying a satchel stuffed with music, dressed sloppily, resembling by one account a charming penguin. He was a gourmand, and more than willing to lavish impossible-to-find foods on musicians at Barrandov, like ham and Hungarian sausages (in a silver bowl, no less). He was immensely popular with filmmakers, and he worked quickly, often writing on the long train journey from Gottwaldov.

His concentration was legendary. O.F. Korte, a technician at Barrandov, described a recording session for a film that had to be ready the next day. While the orchestra played, Liška had the score in front of him but was also working on another score for another film, which had to be finished in two or three days. “Suddenly he interrupted the recording,” said Korte, “grabbed his microphone and shouted into the hall: ‘F sharp for Christ sake!  F sharp!  Bass clarinet played F.’” Liška was a genius at multi-tasking.

He averaged six or seven scores a year, and in 1975, at least fifteen. And he didn’t employ orchestrators or assistants like his Hollywood counterparts [save Bernard Herrmann, another maverick]. “He wrote the whole score himself from beginning to end,” said conductor Štěpán Koníček, who worked on many of Liška's films, including Marketa Lazarová. “That is, from the first draft to the full orchestral score, with complete instrumentation.“ 
Liška suffered later in life from diabetes which he failed to keep under adequate control. (More than once a colleague would witness him casually jabbing himself with a syringe through his trousers.) Upon reaching the studio in Prague from Gottwaldov, he would reportedly order up some food and head into the screening room, stopwatch in hand. He often stayed up all night composing.

His work was not only notable for its unusual instrumental combinations, but for the non-instruments he employed. Typewriters in Defendant (1964), teletype machines in Angel of Blissful Death (1965), adding machines and other bulk electronics in Joachim, Throw it in The Machine! (1974). While on location in Africa, he was said to have invented a new instrument made of sticks, the details of it lost to legend and time.

In the Communist world of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Liška was also notable for his wealth. He once boasted to a colleague that he made 70,000 crowns per film, sometimes 500,000 per month, and all that money sometimes put him at odds with the Party officials. On one occasion he was called in by the Culture Minister to explain his huge earnings. Liška was apparently able to dismiss the charge with a joke.


While he collaborated with visionaries and subversives like Vláčil, Švankmajer, and Vera Chytilová (Fruit of Paradise), all of whom would be banned from filmmaking at one time or another for their provocative work, Liška—never a member of the Communist party—avoided any censorship or punishment, perhaps because film music is an ephemeral art, or perhaps because he had no compunction against scoring films that promoted the State and Communist agenda. In the Seventies—the era of Normalization—he was more prolific than ever, and didn’t shy away from the popular style of swooning Socialist pop fit for an East German Sandmännchen film, or for the Spartakiad, those mass gymnastic events held in sports stadiums large enough to race battleships. His zippy theme for the propagandist TV show The 30 Cases of Major Zeman (1974-1979) has since become the official anthem of the era, played with full irony by rock bands. For his technical work on Kinoautomat, the world’s first interactive cinematic experience at the Montreal World Expo in 1967—and a huge boost to Czechoslovak pride—Liška was awarded the Klement Gottwald award, named for the Stalinesque President following the coup in 1948, who sent many innocents to the gallows.

Liška was said to be apolitical, devoted to his second wife and two children, a rich man who never forgot his roots as a poor boy of Smečno. And for Liška, music and film were always first and foremost. As director Antonin Horak put it, “He was an outstanding musician. More than that, he had a real flair for film. He understood the essence of filmmaking.” 

One might wish that the composer of Marketa Lazarová had written an opera or two, or the composer of Ikarie XB-1 a dazzling concerto for tape loops and synthesizers. He once confided to a colleague that Herbert von Karajan had seen one of his films while in Prague, and invited Liška to write a rhapsody or such for the Berlin Philharmonic. Liška declined. “I just write my own stuff,” he told the renowned conductor. 

For Liška, the act of composing seemed to require a film upon which he could impose his order. He needed to sit at the control board in Barrandov Studios, stopwatch in hand, facing the indefatigable conductor František Belfín and the Film Symphony Orchestra, and most importantly, the projected image waiting for the fantastic Mr. Fox to complete it.



Researching Zdeněk Liška is difficult. His heirs have mostly shunned soundtrack releases; biographical notes that would accompany such projects don’t exist. Liška has no entry in the canonical New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The 2000 documentary Zdeněk Liška from Czech television, written and directed by Petr Ruttner, proved invaluable. Fair to good releases of his films have begun to appear in the last decade on PAL DVD, such as At the Terminus, The White Dove, and Nights of Prague.
Marketa Lazarová, deservedly chosen by the Czechs as the greatest Czech film ever made, received a stunning restoration and release on Criterion Blu-ray. High-def restorations have been completed or are in the works for Karel Zeman’s The Deadly Invention and Baron Prasil, courtesy of the Karel Zeman Museum in Prague. A Youtube channel (tnegach) features a gratifyingly exhaustive collection of visuals with music and effects. Of great help was the Facebook page Liška Lovers and members Joe Walker and Tim Nelson, as well as a radio program called Other Side of the Tracks produced out of Sacramento, available at

I've used English translations of titles in this essay. Here are the original titles:

1946 Pan Prokouk: Podkova pro štěstí (Mr. Prokouk: A Horseshoe for Luck)
1947 Pan Prokouk v pokusení (Mr. Prokouk in Temptation)
1947 Pan Prokouk ouraduje (Mr. Prokouk, The Office Clerk)
1950 Král Lávra (King Lavra)
1953 Poklad ptačího ostrova (A Treasure on Bird Island)
1956 Mícek flícek ( Spot the Ball)
1957 Tam na konecne (At the Terminus)
1958 Pasácek vepru (Pasacek Pigs)
1958 Uzel na kapesníku (Knot in the Handkerchief)
1958 Vynález zkázy (The Deadly Invention)
1962 Baron Prasil
1962 Alarm
1963 Tri zlaté vlasy deda Vseveda (Three Golden Hairs of Old Know)
1963 IKARIE XB-1
1964 Obzalovany (Defendant)
1964 Trio Angelos (Angelos Trio)
1964 Cintamani & podvodník (Cintamani and the Cheater)
1965 Modrá zásterka (Blue Pinafore)
1966 Andel blazené smrti  (Angel of a Blissful Machine)
1965 Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street)
1966 Rakvickarna (Punch and Judy)
1966 Káta a krokodýl  (Káta and the Crocodile)
1966 Snehulák (Snowman)
1966 Et Cetera
1967 Marketa Lazarová
1967 Historia Naturae, Suita 
1969 Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator)
1969 Prazske noci  (Nights of Prague)
1969  Ovoce stromů (Fruit of Paradise)
1970 Don Sajn (Don Juan)
1971 Luk královny Dorotky (The Bow of Little Queen Dorothy)
1973 Povest o stríbrné jedli (Legend of the Silver Fur)
1974 Jáchyme, hod ho do stroje! ( Joachim, Throw it in The Machine!)

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