Since the advent of the DVD video format in the late 1990s, many countries around the world have been re-mastering and restoring their respective movie archives. With the relatively recent advent of high resolution Blu-ray home movie technology, such restoration efforts have increased exponentially. But, perhaps surprisingly, the Czech Republic lags far behind its neighbours in this effort. While the Slovaks have restored around eighty feature films, animated films and documentaries, only two Czech films, the aforementioned Fireman’s Ball – the
After a six-year break, the unconventional and eccentric pop band Buty has released a new album, Duperele, and it seems the wait was well worth it. The band’s eighth studio album found Buty in top form, combining their original, playful and stylistically eclectic music with innovative and witty lyrics. Have a listen in this edition Sunday Music show.
In Czech Books this week, David Vaughan meets the poet and novelist, Olga Walló. In recent years she has become something of a literary phenomenon in the Czech Republic, even though she was over fifty when her first novel was published in 1998. Prior to that, she was better known as a translator and dubbing director, a career which she describes as a form of “inner emigration” from communism. Her novels are strongly autobiographical and Václav Havel has described them as a way of “tracing the path which our nation travelled not so long ago.”
This special programme is dedicated to one of the world’s foremost 20th century pianists Rudolf Firkušný. This year music lovers around the country are celebrating the centenary of the birth of one of its most famous sons –a virtuoso par excellence who was moreover one of the last direct personal links to some of the country’s greats – Leoš Janáček, Bohuslav Martinů, Josef Suk, Alfons Mucha but also president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.
Since January 2012, the Czech Center in Berlin has a new director: Monika Štěpánová, who previously headed the Czech Center in Bucharest and is a passionate supporter of documentary film making. This year also brings some other important changes for the center. In the fall, it will reopen its gates in a different location. The new premises are in the building of Berlin’s Czech embassy. It was just a few weeks after the death of late president Václav Havel shook the entire Czech nation that Monika Štěpánová started her new position. How did she experience
The 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival kicked off in the west Bohemian spa town on Friday. At the opening ceremony, the British actress Helen Mirren was honoured for her contribution to world cinema. The festival, which this year again features a Czech film in the main competition, will conclude next Sunday with the handing out of the Crystal Globe awards. Radio Prague’s former reporter, Ian Willoughby is at the festival, and we asked him for an account of the happenings so far.
Today’s guest in the Arts is Czech-German composer and conductor Rudolf Mazač, who heads a big band orchestra dedicated to the works of Stan Kenton and other jazz greats. In 2004, Rudi Mazač founded Jazzový most (or Jazz Bridge) a festival bringing together international musicians in selected towns and cities in the Czech Republic and Germany. The festival returns to Prague next month. In our interview Rudi talks about line up this year as well as the initial idea behind the long-running project.
Sunday Music this week is dedicated to Joan DeVee Dixon, pianist, organist and composer from Maryland in the US who performs mainly Czech and American music. Joan frequently tours the Czech Republic and performs at the annual American Spring music festival organized by the International Dvorak Society. She has moreover composed a Czech heritage mass for the Czech expat community in Spillville, parts of which you can hear in today’s show.
Any history of Czechoslovakia’s dissident movement in the 1970s will include more than a passing reference to the writer, editor and translator Paul Wilson. Originally from Canada, he came to the country in 1967, then in his twenties, and he was to stay for ten years, eventually being expelled in 1977 for associating with dissidents and the underground music scene. Paul Wilson was back in Prague last month for the launch of a collection of his essays about this country over the last three decades. He spoke to David Vaughan.
The Semafor theatre, one of the oldest continuous traditions of modern Czech entertainment, is still putting out new performances after 53 years of existence. The latest concoction of multi-genre comedy theatre is ‘Kam se poděla Valerie?’, or ‘Where Did Valerie Go?’, which has four pre-premieres this week and next, before the real premiere in September.