Samples of Czech Music

Josef Mysliveček – Divertimento for String Quartet in F Major (Allegro, 1st Movement)

The divertimento genre is typical of Rococo and early Classicism. It was often played to accompany banquets and pastimes of the rich.

Leoš Janáček – Glagolitic Mass (Movement no. 4 – Věruju / Credo)

The Glagolitic Mass is a unique work by one of the most frequently performed Czech composers. Here Janáček brings forth a new musical language, strongly influenced by the tradition of Eastern Christianity.

Bohuslav Martinů – “Otvírání studánek” (The Opening of the Wells) (Finale)

The music is imbued with a sense of nostalgic longing and love for the homeland, a place the composer felt he would never see again. This is why it has an air of old times and traditions, with a touch of folklore.

Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor: From the New World (3rd Movement: Scherzo)

Dvořák composed the symphony “From the New World” during his stay in the USA. Neil Armstrong listened to it when he set foot on the Moon. Today, it has already left the boundaries of the Solar System on board the space probe Voyager 1.

Antonín Dvořák – Slavonic Dances – No. 7 in C Major (Srbské kolo)

This composition will make both the body and the mind dance with jubilant Slavic energy and optimism.

Bedřich Smetana – The Bartered Bride (Overture)

The prelude to Smetana’s most famous opera is, next to Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) and Rossini’s Barber of Seville (Il barbiere di Siviglia), regarded as one of the best opera overtures of all times.

Bedřich Smetana – Má vlast (My Country) – Vltava (Overture)

This symphonic poem from the cycle Má vlast (My Country) describes the course of the longest Czech river, starting from two small springs to the unification of both streams into a single current, through the beautiful landscapes of the Czech lands.

Bedřich Smetana – Má vlast (My Country) – Blaník (Finale)

The finale of the cycle in six parts is a celebration of the composer’s native country, strongly reminiscent of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

František Xaver Brixi – Pastorella in C Major

This pastorella draws on the ancient tradition of Czech pastoral compositions, dating back to the Baroque, but this one is penned not by rural cantors, but by a great classical composer and Mozart’s predecessor.

František Benda – Concerto for Flute and Strings (Presto, 3rd Movement)

František (Franz) Benda was a Czech émigré in Berlin. The flute was a much favoured instrument in the Rococo period. The Prussian King Frederick (Friedrich) the Great, himself a virtuoso and great patron of the arts, composed pieces of music for this instrument.

Jan Dismas Zelenka – Sinfonia Concertante in A Minor (Capriccio, 3rd Movement)

Jan Dismas Zelenka is a prominent figure of the high Baroque, particularly in spiritual music. This symphony shows him as a master of period form and instrumentation.

Pavel Vejvanovský – Serenade for two trumpets, strings and basso continuo (Conclusion)

Pavel Vejvanovský is an early Baroque composer. His entire work reflects his penchant for the beauty of brass instruments and their silvery sound.

Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský – Toccata in C Major

This virtuoso composition by a great composer and organist of European significance is comparable with similar compositions by J. S. Bach. This sample was recorded on the oldest Prague organ in the Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem (Church of Our Lady in front of Týn).

Adam Michna z Otradovic – The Czech Lute

Adam Michna was an aristocrat, Czech Baroque poet, composer, organist and publisher, among other things. You can listen to “Angel Friendship”, a song from his Czech Lute.

Kryštof Harant z Polžic a Bezdružic – Maria Kron, die Engel schon

Kryštof Harant, composer and widely committed typical Renaissance intellectual, shows in this composition the full mastery of the complicated musical structure in a time particularly demanding on the arts.

Ktož jsú boží bojovníci (Those Who Are God's Warriors)

A war hymn of Hussite soldiers in the 15th century, capable of putting the enemies to flight. Hussite hymns became the model for what is called the “protestant chorale”.

Povstaň, povstaň, velké město pražské (Rise, Rise, Grand City of Prague)

Another Hussite song encouraging to fight against the catholic Emperor Sigismund. Its author is unknown.

Collaudemus matrem

Collaudemus matrem is one of the common melodies of religious songs of the Gothic times.

Hospodine, pomiluj ny (Lord, Have Mercy on Us)

One of the oldest songs in Old Church Slavonic is a chorale from around 1050, which was used as an anthem.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:01

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