The Czech Republic’s Ride of the Kings – a tradition dating back centuries still practiced in south-eastern Moravia – was added at the weekend to UNESCO’s list recognising intangible cultural heritage. The ride – practiced in just four villages in the Slovácko region – refers to the flight of Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus from Czech King George of Podébrady in the 15th century. Organisers had strived for years to see the tradition recognised and – following UNESCO’s decision – had every reason to celebrate.
This week’s Sunday Music Show is devoted to one of the country’s most prominent jazz artists –flutist Jiří Stivín. The 68-year-old musician, who is reputed to be able to play on a blade of grass, says the feel for jazz is something you are born with and some of the best renditions come from children who are as yet unspoiled by the constraints of a music education.
In this edition of Screen Czech I’ll be speaking to one of the most influential people in the Czech film industry – Ludmila Claussova, chairwoman of the Czech Film Commission – a one-stop shop for all producers looking to shoot here in the Czech people. She’ll be telling us about what the commission has to offer and gives some forthright opinions on the country’s much maligned film incentive scheme.
Filmy patří lidu (Films Belong to the People) is the title of a series of Socialist Realist pictures that have been released on DVD in the Czech Republic in recent months. These propaganda-filled films are from the 1950s, the harshest decade of the communist era, notorious for its brutal repression, show trials and forced labour camps.
Supraphon has been the main record label for Czech music ever since 1932, and has been a major force in bringing Czech music to the rest of the world. Now as the world goes online for music so too goes Supraphon. On Thursday, its new online service, Supraphonline, will begin offering a part of the company’s massive archive of more than 100,000 recordings to internet buyers, in what was intended to be the first such service in the country. Christian Falvey talked to the record company’s business manager Antonín Milata.
Last month we heard the sad news of the death of Ewald Osers at his home in England at the age of 94. Born in Prague at a time when it was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Osers was an outstanding linguist and a brilliant translator. Over the decades he translated dozens of Czech writers and poets into English, and was equally well known for his translations from German. David Vaughan looks back at a fascinating life.
In this week’s edition of the Sunday Music Show well be focussing on music in Czech film – rock and pop hits from the 1960s up to the Noughties. Everything from more recent films like Rebelové (Rebels) to family classics like Saxana and S tebou mě baví svět – sure to be fired up on the DVD or re-watched on TV during the upcoming holiday season.