Today we start with a CD that includes music by composers who may not have been Czech but did spend time in the Czech Lands. One is Antonio Vivaldi - of Four Seasons fame - who was in Prague in 1729-30. Prague has always attracted a lot of visitors, and in Baroque times it drew Italians in particular. You only have to look at the names of many of the architects and painters active in Bohemia at the time. A lot of cross-fertilization went on in all the arts, and music was no exception. This is explored in a very fine new CD from the Prague early music ensemble Collegium Marianum, entitled Music of Baroque Prague.
It includes not only Vivaldi, but also fellow Italians Caldara and Lotti, as well as Czech composers of the era. There are several pieces by a composer I'd never heard of - Jan Josef Ignac Brentner, who lived from 1689 to 1742. Little is known about him except that he was born in Plzen and that his music was carried to South America by Jesuit missionaries, and has been found there in archives in Bolivia. His music is quite good, and a favourite of mine on this CD is his Bourree, a quick dance in duple meter. Listen out too on this CD for the lovely soprano voice of Constanze Backes.
We move now to the cathedral of St. Moritz in Kromeriz - for some organ works composed by another little-known composer, Josef Klicka, whose dates are 1855 to 1937. This is music from the Romantic era - five concert fantasies for organ - sprawling, free-ranging moody pieces, which make full use of the organ. The organist is Petr Rajnoha, and the CD is released on the ARTA label.
CDs reviewed in this programme are provided by Siroky Dvur
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