A painting depicting the most famous fratricide in Czech history – the murder of prince Vaclav by his own brother Boleslav in 935 has emerged to see the light of day after gathering dust in an attic for close to 170 years. In this edition of Panorama we look at why the monumental work spent so many decades hidden from the eyes of the world.
Prague’s wealth of traditional coffeehouses is a legacy from the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But even in today’s hectic time, grabbing a quick cup on the run is fortunately not the only option for coffee lovers in the Czech capital. Probably the best-known café in the golden city is Kavárna Slavia, or Café Slavia. We recently visited this traditional coffeehouse.
Czech singer Marta Kubišová has been awarded France’s Legion of Honour in recognition of her art as well as of her courage in standing up to communist oppression. One of the greatest pop stars of the time, she became a symbol of the Prague Spring of 1968. But when she refused to bow to the new regime established after the Soviet invasion, she was banned from performing, and could only return to the stage after the fall of communism 20 years later.
There are more than two million Czechs and their Czech-speaking descendants living outside their homeland, or working abroad indefinitely, and Czech Radio and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs undertakes a number of activities – partly through Radio Prague – to support those communities, to keep their connections with this country strong and to help them spread knowledge about the Czech Republic.
The death on October 12 of the Scottish composer Geraldine Mucha at the age of 95 marked the end of an era. Since the end of WWII, her home had been Prague, where she moved with her husband, the outstanding Czech writer, Jiří Mucha. It was here that much of her work was composed and performed, although it always bore an imprint of her native Scotland. Her father-in-law was the celebrated artist of Art Nouveau Paris, Alfons Mucha, and she did much to help to keep his work together. In this special programme, David Vaughan talks to Patricia Goodson,
Vladimíra Krčková recently performed at Life Fashion Café in Prague. She sang songs like “Once I had a secret love”, originally written for Doris Day in the 1950s. Standards like this one form the core of Krčková’s repertoire. Most pieces she performs are English-language tunes, but the singer also throws in the occasional French chanson and Spanish classics.
Marie Gabánková is a noted portrait artist, painter and teacher. She was born in Ostrava and left Czechoslovakia with her family shortly after the Soviet invasion of 1968, aged just seventeen. She has lived in Canada ever since and has had a book of her works published in England, and had such noted figures as singer-songwriter Karel Kryl and writer Josef Škvorecký sit down for portraits. When I met up with her I began by asking Marie what memories she has of her youth in Czechoslovakia.
On Friday, Scottish composer Geraldine Mucha passed away in Prague, which has been her home for most of the past 70 years. Author of numerous musical works, large-scale orchestral pieces, variations on folk songs and chamber pieces, Geraldine came to post-war Czechoslovakia with her husband Jiří Mucha, the son of the famous artists Alphonse Mucha. For the past twenty years, she has been the keeper of her father-in-law’s legacy, but her life’s pursuit of music also helped pave the way for female composers of the younger generations.