This week’s Sunday Music Show is dedicated to the late Czech film-score composer Zdeněk Liška who was recently rewarded posthumously by the Culture Ministry for his outstanding contribution to Czech cinema. An extremely prolific composer, between the 1950s and 1980s Zdeněk Liška wrote the scores to some 500 feature films, television series and documentaries.
This Thursday saw the opening of a new exhibition at the National Gallery’s Kinský Palace Stables Gallery marking 100 years since the death of post-impressionist painter, man-of-letters and critic Miloš Jiránek, who contributed strongly to the Czech “National Awakening” at the end of the 19th century. Although he died at the age of just 35, Jiránek was a most influential figure whose paintings, as well as written works, have seen renewed appreciation. The show, entitled The Polemics of Miloš Jiránek, features oils, water colours, drawings, and woodcut
As one art critic once said, the paintings of Josef Lada accompany Czechs from cradle to grave. He is as well known for his illustrations of fairy tales and children’s readers as he is for his landscapes, which each Christmas are printed thousands of times over on the front of the nation’s Christmas cards. Lada was also the artist who gave the grinning, rotund Good Soldier Švejk his form.
The best-selling American writer Robert Fulghum has such an enthusiastic following in the Czech Republic that he has published several of his books here in Czech translation before they have even appeared at home. That includes his latest book, “If You Love Me Still, Will You Love Me Moving?” Its subtitle “Tales from the Century Ballroom” hints at its theme – that most passionate of ballroom dances, tango. Last week Robert Fulghum was in Prague to promote the book, and found time to pay a visit to the radio. David Vaughan met him.
The independence of Czechoslovakia, which we celebrate each October 28, was the result of a movement of many decades, and when at least it came, in 1918, after four hard years of war, the joy must have been very palpable. There are so few alive today who can remember that period, but it is certainly not lost to us, and one of the ways we can relive it is through the music of the day.
In a tradition going back to 1920, on the eve of October 28, marking the birth of Czechoslovak independence, the Czech Culture Ministry grants annual State Awards to outstanding Czech authors and translators. This year’s recipients are author and literary scholar Daniela Hodrová and translator and university professor Martin Hilský who recently completed his translation of the entire work by William Shakespeare.
This week’s Sunday music show is devoted to a refreshing female duo called Two Voices. At first glance they have little in common - Jana Rychterova is a classic chanson singer, who writes her own lyrics and accompanies herself on the guitar while mezzo-soprano Edita Adlerova studied opera. What brought them together is a sense of humour and a natural talent to entertain the crowd.
Surrounded by railway sidings and industrial estates, it's easy to get the impression that Kolín is simply a town travellers pass through on the way from the Czech capital to the nearby tourist-friendly Kutná Hora. Nevertheless, anyone who gets off the train in Kolín and takes the trouble to walk the short distance past the factories and business parks to the city centre will find that it is a place worth visiting.