Today we enjoy a CD of works by Jaroslav Jezek. He was a Czech composer of the inter-war period who made a huge impression on Czech musical culture, and this recording features his own piano, still in place in Jezek's famous "Blue Room". We also engage in some "Philosophical Dialogues" with contemporary composer, Oldrich Korte, whose works confront some of the basic questions of our existence.
This year's Summer School of Slavonic studies is in full swing at Prague's Charles University. Almost 250 people are immersed in the study of Czech language, culture, and life. Students from all over the world - around 40 countries in all - and all degrees of education come together to brave the difficulties of learning Czech.
One of the most precious works of art to be seen in the Czech Republic is no doubt "The Feast of the Rose Garlands" by the German painter Albrecht Duerer. Exactly 500 years have passed since the masterpiece was painted in Venice and to mark the anniversary, Prague's National Gallery is holding an exhibition this summer, displaying the painting, along with other works by Duerer and many tributes to the original masterpiece.
Petr Novak's unmistakeable, delicate tenor voice is synonymous with Czechoslovak society of the late 1960s. This talented musician shot to fame in this country at the time of the Prague Spring, when his gentle love songs influenced by Western pop groups like The Beatles were hugely popular among young Czechs. His success during this era, however, proved to be short-lived and his career subsequently stagnated under the influence of communist repression and his own problems with alcohol.
Exactly fifty years ago, on August 1 1956, the country's first ever official mime performance was staged for the public. It was a graduation performance by students of the Prague State Conservatory. With "A Night of Three Mimes" at the Clementinum, the group of dancers never dreamed their show would start off a tradition of mime in the country. Now, to celebrate this anniversary, a six-month festival has just been launched. Dita Asiedu reports:
In Czech Books this week, we look at award-winnning Irish writer John Banville's relationship with Prague, a city which features in a number of his books, including his personal travelogue Prague Pictures and the historical novel Kepler, which is set in Prague during the reign of Emperor Rudolph II.
This Saturday, July 29, is the 150th anniversary of the death of Karel Havlicek Borovksy, regarded by many as the first Czech journalist. Born in the Moravian village of Borov in 1821, Havlicek Borovsky achieved a lot in his short life; he was also a newspaper editor and a very important figure in the Czech National Revival. Ahead of this weekend's anniversary, the Karel Havlicek Borovsky Institute held a ceremony at his grave in Prague on Tuesday. I spoke to the Institute's Vilem Tanzer about its aims, and the legacy of this legendary Czech
Ludvik Vaculik, one of the Czech Republic's greatest living writers turned 80 on July 23. Born in Brumov, a small corner of southeast Moravia, in 1926, Ludvik Vaculik became an acclaimed writer—important enough for the communists to ban after 1968—and his credentials have also included editor of both Literarni Noviny and Rude Pravo, radio journalist, publisher of the samizdat series Edice Petlice, essayist, and always an engaged citizen.
This past Sunday, Ludvik Vaculik celebrated his 80th birthday. One of the Czech Republic's most well-known and respected writers, Ludvik Vaculik has been part of the Czech literary scene since the 1950s. He has written several novels, literally hundreds of essays, not to mention some of the most important political texts of twentieth century Czechoslovak history.
The photographer Miroslav Tichy became known in the Czech Republic only recently, after he achieved major success abroad. His unusual photographs have been exhibited in galleries in London, New York, Zurich and although they are of very poor technical quality visitors and critics are impressed. The photographs are now sold for up to ten thousand euros.