Music of the Czech Republic

Last updated

Music of the Czech Republic comprises the musical traditions of that state or the historical entities of which it is compound, i.e. the Czech lands (Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia). Czech music also constitutes a substantial part of the music culture of its direct predecessor, Czechoslovakia.

Czech Republic Country in Central Europe

The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometers (30,450 sq mi) with a mostly temperate continental climate and oceanic climate. It is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants; its capital and largest city is Prague, with 1.3 million residents. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc and Pilsen. The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union (EU), NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.

Czech lands

The Czech lands or the Bohemian lands are the three historical regions of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia. Together the three have formed the Czech part of Czechoslovakia since 1918 and the Czech Republic since 1 January 1969, which became independent on 1 January 1993.

Bohemia Historical land in Czech Republic

Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.

Contents

Music in this area has its roots in sacred music from more than a thousand years ago. The oldest recorded song from this territory is the hymn Hospodine, pomiluj ny ("Lord, Have Mercy on Us"), dating from the turn of the 11th century. [1]

Hospodine, pomiluj ny Czech Christian hymn from the turn of the 10th and 11th century

Hospodine pomiluj ny is the oldest known Czech song. The hymn is a paraphrase of the Kyrie Eleison with deep choral melody. Its text preserves traces of Church Slavonic origin.

Traditional music

Bohemian traditional music includes that of Chodsko (CS), where bagpipes are common. Moravian traditional music is known for the cimbalom, which is played in ensembles that also include double bass, clarinet and violins. The traditional music of Moravia displays regional influences, especially in Valachia with a Romanian and Ukrainian legacy, and has close cultural relations with Slovakia and Lachia (the borderland of northern Moravia and Czech Silesia) with its Polish aspects.

Bagpipes Musical instrument

Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. The Scottish Great Highland bagpipes are the best known in the Anglophone world; however, bagpipes have been played for a millennium or more throughout large parts of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, including Turkey, the Caucasus, and around the Persian Gulf. The term bagpipe is equally correct in the singular or plural, though pipers usually refer to the bagpipes as "the pipes", "a set of pipes" or "a stand of pipes".

Moravian traditional music

Moravian traditional music or Moravian folk music represents a part of the European musical culture connected with the Moravian region of the Czech Republic. Styles of Moravian traditional music vary by location and subject, but much of it is characterized by a specific melodic and harmonic texture related to the Eastern European musical world. According to Czech musicologist Jiří Plocek, Moravia is the area where the European East musically meets the West.

Cimbalom concert hammered dulcimer

The cimbalom is a type of chordophone composed of a large, trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across its top. It is a musical instrument commonly found in the group of Central-Eastern European nations and cultures, namely contemporary Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland. It is also popular in Greece and in gypsy music. The cimbalom is (typically) played by striking two beaters against the strings. The steel treble strings are arranged in groups of 4 and are tuned in unison. The bass strings which are over-spun with copper, are arranged in groups of 3 and are also tuned in unison. The Hornbostel–Sachs musical instrument classification system registers the cimbalom with the number 314.122-4,5. Moreover, the instrument name “cimbalom” also denotes earlier, smaller versions of the cimbalom, and folk cimbaloms, of different tone groupings, string arrangements, and box types.

A famous dance from the region is the Bohemian polka.

The polka is originally a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. The polka remains a popular folk music genre in many European countries, and is performed by folk artists in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Croatia and Finland, and to a lesser extent in Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Russia, and Slovakia. Local varieties of this dance are also found in the Nordic countries, Spain's Basque Country, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latin America and the United States.

Ukázka z řemeslnického tance Břitva, traditional Czech Folk Song.

Bohemian music

Early evidence of music from this region is documented in manuscripts from the library of the Cistercian monastery in Vyšší Brod (founded in 1259). One of the most important is manuscript No. 42, from 1410. It contains a hymn called Jezu Kriste, ščedrý kněže ("Jesus Christ Bountiful Prince"), that people would sing during the preaching of John Huss.

Vyšší Brod Town in South Bohemian, Czech Republic

Vyšší Brod is a small town in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has around 2,600 inhabitants and it is the southernmost municipality in the Czech Republic. Vyšší Brod Monastery, an important historic landmark, is located in the town. The city has many tourists attractions like the Cistercian cloister, the Lake Lipno which connects to the Vltava River and the historical town center.

With the development of towns in the 15th century, music started to play an important role in two Bohemian centers: Prachatice and Sušice. Václav z Prachatic (Václav of Prachatice) dealt with the theory of music at the Charles University in Prague. His manuscript Musica magistrii Johannis de Muris accurtata de musica Boethii is a collective work on the theory of music inspired by the thoughts of Johan de Muris, who worked in Paris, and is in the university library.

Prachatice Town in Czech Republic

Prachatice is a town in the South Bohemian Region, Czech Republic.

Sušice Town in Czech Republic

Sušice is a town in the Pilsen Region of the Czech Republic. It lies on the Otava River, some 60 km (37 mi) to the south of the regional capital of Pilsen.

Extensive musical activities in Prachatice took place in the second half of the 16th century during the Renaissance, a notable period of literátská bratrstva ("men of letters brotherhoods"). Their main focus was community singing performed during ceremonial services. The brotherhood established its memorial book in 1575, which described its activities until 1949, when the brotherhood perished. The Habsburg Counter-Reformation in Bohemia after 1620 also affected music in the region. Catholic priests performed Gregorian chorals, while the people sang spiritual songs often based on the Protestant tradition. This ended in a new Catholic edition of hymn books such as Capella regia musicalis.

The Czech classicism period is exemplified by František Xaver Brixi, Johann Baptist Wanhal, and Augustin Šenkýř. Among the 18th and 19th century composers are Vincenc Mašek (CS), Jan Jakub Ryba, Jan August Vitásek. In the 19th century German and Austrian productions also had their place here. The founder of Czech national music Bedřich Smetana was inspired by the Bohemian Forest while creating his symphonic poem Vltava . Antonín Dvořák was also inspired by the Bohemian Forest in his piece called Klid pro violoncello a orchestr.

The traditional music of Bohemia and Moravia influenced the work of composers like Leoš Janáček, Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, and Bohuslav Martinů. Earlier composers from the region include Adam Michna, Heinrich Biber, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Johann Wenzel Stamitz and Johann Ladislaus Dussek.

Related Research Articles

Bedřich Smetana Czech composer

Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style that became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast, which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native country and contains the famous symphonic poem "The Moldau".

České Budějovice City in Czech Republic

České Budějovice is a statutory city in the Czech Republic. It is the largest city in the South Bohemian Region as well as its political and commercial capital, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of České Budějovice, the University of South Bohemia, and the Academy of Sciences. It is located in the center of a valley of the Vltava River, at the confluence with the Malše. It is famous for Budweiser.

The Czechs or the Czech people, are a West Slavic ethnic group and a nation native to the Czech Republic in Central Europe, who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and Czech language.

Václav Talich Czech conductor, violinist, music educator, professor, university educator and director conductor of Czech philharmony

Václav Talich was a Czech conductor, violinist and pedagogue.

Josef Klička Czech conductor, violinist, music educator, composer and organist

Josef Klička was a Czech organist, violinist, composer, conductor and pedagogue. He produced several large organ compositions in the style of late romanticism; these have been recorded on CD.

State Opera (Prague) opera house in Prague, Czech Republic, operated by the National Theatre company

The State Opera, is an opera house in Prague, Czech Republic. It is part of the National Theatre of the Czech Republic, founded by Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic in 1992. The theatre itself originally opened in 1888 as the New German Theatre and from 1949 to 1989 it was known as the Smetana Theatre. More recently it was renamed the Prague State Opera. Currently it is home to approximately 300 performances a year.

Ilona Štěpánová-Kurzová was a Czech concert pianist and piano teacher, a professor at the Prague Academy of Arts. Her students included Ivan Moravec. Ilona Štěpánová-Kurzová was the mother of pianist Pavel Štěpán.

Josef Leopold Zvonař Czech composer, pedagogue, and big music critic

Josef Leopold Zvonař was a Czech composer, pedagogue, and big music critic.

Zdeněk Nejedlý Czechoslovak member of Czechoslovak national parliament, minister without portfolio, minister of labour and social affairs of the CR, minister of education, Czechoslovak politician, academic, musicologist, politic writer and science writer

Zdeněk Nejedlý was a Czech musicologist, music critic, author, and politician whose ideas dominated the cultural life of what is now the Czech Republic for most of the twentieth century. Although he started out merely reviewing operas in Prague newspapers in 1901, by the interwar period his status had risen, guided primarily by socialist political views. This combination of left wing politics and cultural leadership made him a central figure in the early years of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic after 1948, where he became the first Minister of Culture and Education. In this position he was responsible for creating a statewide education curriculum, and was associated with the early 1950s expulsion of university professors.

<i>King and Charcoal Burner</i> opera by Antonín Dvořák

King and Charcoal Burner, Op. 14, is a three-act (23-scene) comic opera by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák.

Karel Šejna was a Czech double bassist and conductor, the principal conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1950.

<i>Saint Ludmila</i> (oratorio) oratorio by Antonín Dvořák

Antonín Dvořák composed his oratorio Saint Ludmila (Czech: Svatá Ludmila for soloists, choir and orchestra, between September 1885 and May 1886. The oratorio was written to a text by the leading Czech poet and writer Jaroslav Vrchlický. Saint Ludmila is Dvořák's third oratorio, and is considered one of his foremost works.

Irma Reichová Czech actress and opera singer

Irma Reichová was a Czech operatic soprano who had an active career appearing in European opera houses during the latter half of the nineteenth century. A dramatic soprano, she was admired for both her musical and acting talent. She is best remembered for appearing in the world premieres of a number of operas by Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana.

The Praga Sinfonietta Orchestra is a Czech classical orchestra based in Prague.

National symbols of the Czech Republic

The national symbols of the Czech Republic are flags, heraldry, cultural expressions and other symbols that represent the Czech Republic, Czech people and their history, culture and nationhood. There are six official symbols which are declared in the Constitution of the Czech Republic. However many other historical, cultural and geographical symbols of the Czech republic and Czech people do exist.

Ludvík Kundera was a Czech musicologist, pianist and academic administrator.

Vladislaus II of Moravia or Vladislaus of Bohemia was the Margrave of Moravia from 1222 to his death. He was member of the Přemyslid dynasty, son of King Ottokar I of Bohemia and his second wife, Constance of Hungary.

Bedřich or Bedrich may refer to:

References

  1. Thomas, Alfred (1998-01-01). Anne's Bohemia: Czech Literature and Society, 1310-1420. U of Minnesota Press. p. 25. ISBN   9780816630547.