The first two names always given at the top of the pantheon of Czech classical music are Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana; the third is invariably Leoš Janáček. Probably the most innovative of the three, Janáček likely lags behind the famous duo only because even today, 80 years after his death, musicians, musicologists and music lovers are still reassessing those innovations, which took classical music into uncharted territory.
Divadlo Semafor is an inauspicious theatre in Prague’s Dejvice district, from which, over the past half-century, some of this country’s biggest pop hits have emerged. To honour the output of songwriting duo Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr, and the theatre’s 50th birthday, nearly 20 young Czech bands have got together to make an album of cover versions of Semafor songs. Music critic Pavel Klusák is the man behind the project:
The jazz and classical music festival Struny podzimu, or Strings of Autumn, opens in Prague on Tuesday night with a special performance by the Czech avant garde musician Iva Bittová. She will be accompanied at the Estate’s Theatre by jazz musicians and – for the first time – the Prague Philharmonic.
Karel Čapek is one of the few Czech writers whose work has transcended borders. Although he died prematurely, aged 48, during the dire year of 1938, in the course of his short lifetime he wrote over 20 prosaic works as well as several plays and travel books. Many of these have been translated into English – and our guest in this edition of One on One is Norma Comrada, an American who translated several of Čapek’s collections of short stories, and his 1938 play The Mother. I met Ms Comrada at a most appropriate venue – Karel Čapek’s study on the
The prestigious World Press Photo 2008 has opened at its traditional venue, Charles University’s Carolinum in the Prague city centre, with winning photos highlighting major events from last year – from the election of US President Barack Obama to scenes of conflict such as the war between Russia and Georgia. This year the jury choose some 60 winners from 96,000 entries.
Czech parents may well be relieved to know that, if the latest studies are anything to go by, their children are still keen readers. And what are they reading? Well, how about Psycho for Kids and Baby Punk…? Such is the rich new world of Czech children’s writing and publishing, post-1989. It’s a world where poetry, music and visual art have come to overlap with some surprising results. In reaction to four decades of censorship, just about anything goes and there is little nostalgia for the old days. The journalist Kateřina Kadlecová has taken a
The late Czech architect Jan Kaplický's buildings have been described as 'some of the most remarkable... that Britain has ever seen' and, by a disgruntled Prince Charles, as amongst the worst examples of 'the surrealist picnic' that is modern architecture. When Kaplický died at the beginning of 2009, British architecture lost one of its most creative, and provocative, figures. Long-time friend and head of London's Design Museum Deyan Sudjic has curated an exhibition called 'Remembering Jan Kaplický – Architect of the Future', which runs until November
The Google Books Library is a huge project under which the internet giant aims to scan millions of books and make them available on-line. In the US a court is considering a deal struck between Google and publishers that would cover all books covered by copyright in the US, a deal which would see copyright holders receive nearly two thirds of the price of books printed to order from Google Books. Now the issue has come before the European Commission in Brussels, with many in Europe wary of Google’s plans. Among them is the Association of Czech Booksellers