Literature sometimes makes for some unusual connections. What, for example, could Franz Kafka possibly have in common with the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland? To find the answer we start at the busy British Council office, just a couple of streets down from Czech Radio’s headquarters. Just after World War II, the British Council here was headed by Edwin Muir, who was born in 1887 in Orkney and grew up on the tiny island of Wyre. He is one of Scotland’s best known 20th century poets, but it is also quite possible that you will have
The Czech folk singer Karel Kryl is the subject of this edition of Music Profile. His well-known debut album “Bratříčku, zavírej vrátka” was published six months after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia which crushed the Prague Spring in 1968. A year later, he emigrated to Germany. He worked for Radio Free Europe in Munich, where he died in 1994. Kryl is considered one of the most important figures of the anti-communist movement.
Vladimíra Krčková recently performed at Life Fashion Café in Prague. She sang songs like “Once I had a secret love”, originally written for Doris Day in the 1950s. Standards like this one form the core of Krčková’s repertoire. Most pieces she performs are English-language tunes, but the singer also throws in the occasional French chanson and Spanish classics.
The Czech Republic has been covered in snow and ice for over a month and many people are thoroughly tired of the weather here. But one group of Czech Michael Jackson fans have taken advantage of the freezing temperatures and have created an ice statue of the late pop singer. What’s more, they want a permanent memorial to Jackson built in Prague.
The widely respected Czech photographer Werner Forman, who settled in Great Britain in the late 1960s, died in London on Saturday. His work took him to many parts of the globe and reflected the best and worst of the world around him – from atrocities committed in concentration camps to precious works of art. He wrote about 40 books on ancient and oriental cultures and his archive contains some 15,000 photographs of archaeological sites, architecture and art from the great museums and private collections from all over the world. Ruth Fraňková spoke
The Czech PEN club on Monday marked its 85th anniversary. Established in Prague just three years after the worldwide association of writers was founded in London in 1922, the Czech PEN club brought together some big names in pre-war Czech literature, including Karel Čapek, František Langer and Viktor Fischl. Today, the Czech PEN club carries on its mission of promoting freedom of speech, supporting oppressed writers in many countries around the world.
It’s that time of the year again for the Czech film industry; the red carpet is about to come out for the Czech Lions – that is, the top Czech film prize awarded by the Czech Film and Television Academy – but there have also been a series of higher-than-ordinary-profile films of late and some new directions taken in the industry. In the studio to talk over some of that, and to give us an idea of what’s to come, I spoke to film critic and reporter Ilona Francková, who has had a careful eye on the goings-on of the Czech film world for much of the
Concertino Praga – Czech Radio’s prestigious international competition for young musicians – has just announced the winners of this year’s event. The aim of the competition, which was established in 1966, is to search for talented young musicians all over Europe and help them embark on a professional career. Ruth Fraňková has more.
When John Millington Synge’s masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World was first performed in Dublin in 1907, there were riots in protest. The black comedy with its tale of attempted patricide was seen as going beyond the limits of decency, and was even accused of putting the Irish nation into disrepute. Set in an isolated and poor rural community, Synge’s play relishes the wealth of western Irish dialect, and today is universally acknowledged as one of the classics of Irish drama. But what does that have to do with the Czech Republic? In this
František Matoušek’s paintings are instantly recognizable because of the material he uses, instead of painting on canvas, Matoušek stretches different varieties of denim over his frames. Often, he distresses the fabric, removes threads and roughs it up, so the texture of the denim becomes an element of the paintings’ motifs.