Until the middle of the 20th century, the territory of today’s Czech Republic had always been bilingual and its German literary legacy is huge. Adalbert Stifter, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Werfel, Max Brod and Franz Kafka are just a few of the best known writers, but there are hundreds of others, many undeservedly neglected or even quite forgotten. David Vaughan looks at an initiative to kindle interest in this country’s German literature and to revive Czech-German literary ties.
One of Prague’s best known German-language authors was Egon Erwin Kisch, who was born in the Czech capital 125 years ago this Thursday. His excellent style and original choice of stories, together with his dramatic life, earned him a reputation of the ‘Raging Reporter’ that is still very much alive today.
The 66th Prague Spring international classical music festival comes to a close on Saturday night with a special event – the first performance in the Czech capital in five years by the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra is conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, husband of Czech opera star Magdalena Kožená. The programme of the Prague Spring, which began on May 12, has featured over three dozen concerts and seven operas. The biggest single event was a performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony by 500 musicians at the city’s O2 arena.
Classical music fans are gearing up for one of the most prestigious events in the cultural calendar – the Prague Spring International Music Festival, which gets underway on Thursday evening. Founded in 1946, as a newly-liberated Czechoslovakia was emerging from six years of war and Nazi occupation, the festival has survived communist dictatorship and the commercial pressures of capitalism to remain the country’s preeminent classical music festival.
This November marked the 40th anniversary of the death of Johannes Urzidil, the Prague-born writer, poet, historian and journalist. Urzidil was a member of the so-called Prague Circle, a group of mostly Jewish German-speaking authors who met regularly in the city’s cafes in the early part years of the 20th century. While not as well known obviously as his friend and fellow author Franz Kafka, Urzidil has a firm following, and some of them gathered in Prague recently to remember his life and work.