In the Czech Republic and increasingly even abroad, violinist Pavel Šporcl enjoys the kind of name recognition that aspiring rock stars dream of. A natural talent, he became the enfant terrible of the classical music world when first he arrived on the scene, forgoing a tuxedo for a bandana and taking an interactive approach to his concerts. Having toured the world over and recorded roughly a dozen albums, 36-year-old Pavel Šporcl is not only a dominant but a defining force in classical music. I met Pavel as he was preparing for a concert, and asked
The 1960s had seen a thriving musical scene in Czechoslovakia, which had been broadly tolerated by the regime, especially during the 1968 Prague Spring. With the political clampdown of the early 70s, rock and pop music were also to suffer. But this was a gradual process, and, initially at least, the communist authorities were careful not to go too far to alienate young people.
One of the all-time great Jamaican music groups Toots and the Maytals are due to appear in Prague in May. The band, who began in the ska era of the 1960s and later developed a more reggae style, are best known for hits like 56-46 Was My Number and Funky Kingston and had two songs on the soundtrack of the film The Harder They Come. Toots and the Maytals will play at Lucerna Music Bar on May 13.
The sci-fi action thriller Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, and shot largely in the Czech Republic, received a nomination for Best Sound Mixing at this year’s Academy Awards. Czech soundman Petr Forejt - a veteran on numerous international projects – was part of the team, and although the film didn’t take the Oscar in the end, even a nomination is considered a major success. This Friday Jan Velinger spoke to Petr Forejt in Radio Prague’s studio, asking what it was like to work on Wanted as well as his first reaction when he learned he was an Oscar
Karel Kryl is considered by many to be the greatest Czech folk singer ever to have lived. He was the voice of a generation, with this song - ‘Bratříčku, zavírej vrátka’ - becoming an anthem of protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Kryl, who died 15 years ago this week, continues to enjoy a massive popularity in this country. One of the first people to spot his talent was DJ and music critic Jiří Černý:
My guest for today’s One on One is violin virtuoso Václav Hudeček. Originally a child prodigy, Hudeček played London’s Royal Albert Hall when just fifteen years of age. In the 1960s, Hudeček became something of a violin-playing sex-symbol, selling out stadiums all over Czechoslovakia. In more recent years, he has set up a summer violin academy to encourage young talent in Luhačovice. He is currently touring the world as part of the Czech EU presidency, presenting Czech music and culture abroad. When I met him recently, I asked him how he got involved
How do you imagine the soundtrack to an exhibition called ‘Decadence’ would sound? Czech musicians Monika Načeva and David Cajthaml were asked to create just that – a piece of modern music to accompany an exhibit dedicated to the excesses of the fin de siecle. So what did they do? They produced an 18-minute reworking of Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘la decadanse’. The vinyl was launched in Prague on Tuesday, Rosie Johnston was there:
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