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.
Anyone who has been to Prague is extremely likely to have seen some of the work of artist Jiří Votruba. Posters, postcards and t-shirts bearing his distinctive brightly-coloured images of Franz Kafka, the Golem, and Prague landmarks are on sale throughout the city. Indeed, they themselves help form the image of the Czech capital for many visitors.
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.
When the Slovak writer Pavol Rankov published his novel “It Happened on September the First (or Whenever)” in 2009, it came just after the Slovak national football team had beaten the Czech Republic. In an enthusiastic review, one Czech critic suggested that the same had now happened in literature and that the Rankov’s literary achievement had put his Czech contemporaries to shame. When the author came to Prague earlier this week, David Vaughan took the opportunity to talk to him about a remarkable novel that speaks volumes about a part of the world
You may know the feeling – you return to your native village after a long absence and come across an eyesore – a building that screams “money, power and influence” and sticks out like a sore thumb from its surroundings. That is the kind of building that architect and photographer Jan Kruml likens to a flashing gold tooth.
A new exhibition at the Rudolfinum Gallery in Prague presents the work of 12 contemporary British artists. Entitled Beyond Reality: British Painting Today, the exhibit questions the ways of viewing reality in today’s art and reflects two particular trends: the influence of photorealism and references to 19th century academic painting. The exhibition features, among others, the authors Ben Johnson, Keith Tyson, Damien Hirst, the Chapman brothers as well as Czech-born, London-based artist Hynek Martinec.
The sultry voice of young Sara Vondrášková there in the song Lay Down, which has launched her from the cafes and clubs of Prague to the silver screen, as the title song for the new Czech film noir Ve Stínu. The jazz student’s bewitching contralto and modern compositional sensibility is giving her some well earned prominence in the next generation of singer/songwriter/composers. Our guest in this edition of One on One, Sara Vondrášková tells us first of all how she’s begun to move away from her home ground in jazz.
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.