LUBOMIR PLEVA, b. July 31, 1929, at Grygov near Olomouc, Is a true master of the harmonica, or rather the chromonica, a version of the instrument which features ali 12 notes in the octave. Since this LP recording was meant to give Pleva the opportunity to employ the full range of his technique, the entire Side 1 features compositions dominated by virtuoso elements, or concert compositions in which Pleva can demonstrate his breathing technique, his phrasing, and the entire array of the skilis of a fine instrumental soloist. Side2features Pieva in lyric compositions or entertainment numbers. Throughout, his partner Is the Ostrava Radio Pops Orchestra under Pavel Stank, a body which shows how many reaiiy good instrumentalists can be found even in Czechoslovakia’s less well-known ensembies. The reai co-author of this recording is arranger Zbyek Bittmar, also of Ostrava, who knows sufficiently the potential of this special instrument, and with whom our soioist has had a working partnership since his very first public appearances.
Lubomír Pieva took up music-making at the age offive when he started to study the violin, and upon his graduation from secondary schooi he had to choose between a musical or a sports career. Sport—track and field —won, and Pleva graduated in 1953 from the University of Olomouc as secondary school teacher of physical education. However, his interest in music had not waned: Pleva was the leader of the university’s cymbalom band, from time to time he played the bass in jazz bands, and his fans at the University Ciub often made him perform the harmonica skills he had practised on the long trips to sports meets. In 1955, Plevafirst performed at Czechoslovakia’s top amateur music competition — and placed first. (50 did he in ali the competitions in CSSR in which he took part later.) At that time he was already recording for the Brno Radio, and his success with the listeners also brought him engagements with the Ostrava Radio. Pleva has recorded by
now some 150 highly varied items far broadcasting purposes, pius incidental music far films, theatrical stages and TV shows. His international successes have also become increasingly notable since his first performance — in 1964 — far the taperecording competition organized by the Fédération lnternationale de l’Harmonica at Trossingen. He first appeared in person at the 1968 Harmonica Weltfestspiele at Lucerne, where he placed 3rd, but in a similar competition at Eindhoven (Holland) he was already lst in the harmonetta category (the harmonetta is roughly speaking — a harmonica with a keyboard), and finally, in 1972, he managed a “grand slam” at Baarn (Holland), where he placed first in both categories, and on top of that won the Main Festivai Prize far the best artistic performance. With that, Pleva secured a permanent position among the world’s best harmonica blowers, not only through his technical skill, but also because of the extensive range of his repertoire, from classical subjects to jazz improvisation. He has achieved ali that as an amateur: his actual profession is still that of secondary school teacher at Plerov, a mediumsize Moravian town.