It is the dream of every musicologist to rediscover a lost work by a great composer. This is just what happened to Eva Velicka from Prague. Four months ago while researching in the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen, she came across the lost original manuscript of the String trio no. 1 by one of the great 20th century Czech composers, Bohuslav Martinu. On Sunday the work was performed in Prague by the Zemlinsky Quartet - for the first time in eighty years. Eva Velicka, who works at the Bohuslav Martinu Institute in Prague, came into our studio
Lost, stolen, sold, discovered in an antique shop, confiscated, ruined by a flood and finally restored and returned to its owner - that's the turbulent story of a 17th-century painting of a wealthy Prague burgher that was once in possession of Prague's Municipal Museum. The museum is now showing the cameo portrait whose story is just as interesting as the story of the man it depicts.
Nativity scenes celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus have a long tradition in the Czech lands, dating back to 1560, when the first such scene was introduced here by the Jesuits at their college, the Clementinum, across from the Charles Bridge in Prague. Records of the Nativity scene were lost so we will never be sure what it really looked like, but it is fairly safe to assume the scene included traditional elements including a grotto, the original manger, farm animals, and baby Jesus himself. The scene, called "Betlem" in Czech, after Bethlehem,
One of Prague's most venerable theatres is celebrating its 90th birthday this week. From playing host to such stars as Jan Werich and Jiri Voskovec in the 1930s to Helena Vondrackova and Marta Kubisova in the 1960s, the Rokoko theatre has always had a reputation for providing top-quality entertainment for Prague audiences. Nevertheless, despite the festive atmosphere surrounding its anniversary celebrations, the curtain seems set to fall in this theatre for the last time.
Latest figures show that record sales by Czech artists this year have dropped by nearly 25% to 116 million CZK or 4.7 million USD. Given that this figure covers all revenues for scores of well established artists working in the Czech music industry, it is unlikely that any local musicians are going to make it big financially in this country regardless of how famous they are. In fact many feel such relatively poor sales pose a threat to the future viability of the music industry in the Czech Republic.
Many Radio Prague listeners will already be familiar with the work of Czech-born illustrator Peter Sis, the author of acclaimed children's books that include "The Three Golden Keys" and "The Tree of Life". Last week, Peter Sis was in Prague, this time to launch the Czech edition of "Tibet - Through the Red Box" - based on his father's experiences in 1950s Tibet.
In the Arts we'll be looking at experimental vision in both music and architecture. First, we look at the Czech band known as SOIL, and second, we'll be looking at a new exhibition titled Futura Pragensis, where students of architecture foresee and propose how Prague might look in two hundred years.
A memorial concert was held last Saturday in the Merkin Concert Hall of the Kaufman Center in New York City in honour of composer Andrew Yin Svoboda, who passed away at the young age of 27, just a few months into his doctoral studies at the prestigious Columbia University. The event was sponsored by the university's Department of Music and a student-run organization called Columbia Composers organized the memorial along with the tireless efforts of the Svoboda family.
Some thirteen years ago the Czech National Library first started a pioneering project in which it turns rare documents into digital form. Its experts even devised a special format for the digitisation which was later adopted as a UNESCO standard. For its preservation efforts, the library was given a UNESCO award earlier this year. In this edition of Czech Science, we take you to the historic building of the Czech National Library in Prague where the oldest manuscripts meet with the most advanced technology.