One of the staples of the Czech Christmas’, along with fried carp, Christmas cookies and fairy tales, is Jakub Jan Ryba’s Christmas Mass. The mass composed by a small-town teacher in 1796 has become the most popular piece of Czech Christmas music ever written. It is performed in churches, concert halls and resounds in millions of Czech homes at this time of year. So on Christmas Eve, we would like to share this musical experience with you and have selected a 1998 recording that has been hailed as the best recording of the Czech Xmas mass ever made.
This edition of Sunday Music Show is dedicated to the songs of the legendary protest singer Karel Kryl, interpreted by some of the best known Czech musicians, such as Markéta Irglová, Aneta Langerová or Tomáš Klus. The album Karel Kryl 70 is a live recording of a concert which took place in Prague’s Lucerna Music Hall this April to mark two important anniversaries related to the legendary protest singer - 70 years since his birth and 20 years since his death.
Led by singer-guitarist Ondřej Krochmalný, the Český Těšín-based band Planety received the Best New Act gong at the 2012 Vinyl awards for their debut LP Peklo, peklo, ráj. This year the indie outfit – influenced by the likes of Pixies, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine – returned with the positively received Nekonečná hudba města zapomeneš.
The Czech State Opera on Friday hosts the world premiere of the opera Nová Země or New Earth, which was written by Czech composer Alois Hába in 1936. The opera was officially banned by the Czechoslovak Ministry of Education as it justified the violent collectivisation in a Soviet village and has never been performed. Friday’s performance will be a one-off event.
Forty cinemas around the country will offer the public a live transmission of a Czech Christmas staple – Jakub Jan Ryba’s Christmas Mass- performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague’s prestigious Rudlfinum Concert Hall. The concert will take place on December 20th and is completely sold out. A number of cameras backstage will also give cinemagoers a glimpse of what goes on behind-the-scenes. A similar live transmission from the Rudolfinum in October of Antonin Dvořák’s From the New World symphony was a huge success.
Morphosis by previous winner Boris Carloff is among the nominees for the 2014 Apollo award for best Czech pop album of the year. Analogous to the Mercury Prize in the UK, the award is voted on by leading music critics and was first presented in 2011. The other nominees are Adrian T. Bell (for Different World), Lenka Dusilová and Baromantika (V hodině smrti), Dva (Nipomo), Kieslowski (Mezi lopatky), Skleník (Champagne Cork Pop) and Zrní (Následuj kojota). The winner – who gets CZK 60,000 and a statuette designed by Maxim Velčovský – will be announced on February 5.
Renowned Czech singer Hana Hegerová is in hospital after suffering an apparent heart attack on Thursday; the 83-year-old, who retired from show business three years ago, is in an induced coma at the General Teaching Hospital in Prague, a spokesman confirmed. He was not at liberty to reveal further details. Hana Hegerová is best-known for chansons; she worked closely with composer Petr Hapka, who died at the end of November at the age of 70 and was laid to rest on Thursday.
Family, friends, and colleagues paid their last respects to Czech composer and singer Petr Hapka on Thursday at Prague’s Vyšehrad. Hapka, best-known for his chansons and film scores, died on November 25 at the age of 70. Those who attended the ceremony included composer Ondřej Soukup, pianist Petr Malásek, Hapka’s longtime friend and creative collaborator lyricist Michal Horáček, actor and comedian Bolek Polívka and many others.
The great American jazz musician Herbie Hancock received sustained applause from an almost capacity audience at Brno’s Vodova sports hall on Saturday night. The Oscar and multi-Grammy winning keyboardist and composer, who is 74, played songs from across his distinguished career, including his 1962 classic Watermelon Man, in a concert that was part of the city’s JazzFest. Hancock had previously performed twice in Prague, at a jazz festival in the capital in 1986 and at the Prague Spring classical music festival with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2005.
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