Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and his brother Michael (1737-1806) were the most popular composers in eighteenth-century Bohemia, and their compositions have been preserved in collections in Prague, among other places. The study deals with Haydniana in the collection of Ondřej Horník (1864-1917) kept at the National Museum - Czech Museum of Music and with sacred works in particular. It notes the performances of compositions by both Haydn brothers given by the Brothers Hospitallers in Kuks, gives concrete examples of changes to instrumentation depending on changing tastes during the period, and touches on cases of doubtful authorship and practical questions concerning the manufacturing and distribution of paper. Among other things, it affirms the importance of Ondřej Horník's activity as a collector.
In June of 1892, Smetana’s Prodaná nevěsta (The Bartered Bride) was heard in Vienna for the first time as part of a guest appearance by the Czech National Theatre at the International Musical and Theatrical Exhibition. The clear success of the opera and of the performances of the National Theatre ensemble was reflected in the reviews of the Viennese critics, who were calling for German-language performances of Prodaná nevěsta on the stage of the Court Opera. On the basis of information from the archives of the Court Opera (Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv), one can document the reasons why, as it turned out, the first Viennese (and German-language) stage to produce the opera was the Theater an der Wien in April 1893, and why the premiere at the Court Opera did not occur until three years later. The study also devotes attention to the first performers for both productions of Prodaná nevěsta and to the circumstances of the two Viennese premieres, which opened up the pathway to other stages around the world after a thirty-year delay.
The collection of the National Museum – Czech Museum of Music contains the largest set of harps built by Franz Brunner. This instrument maker was one of the most important builders of pedal harps in Vienna in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Brunner’s harps use a single-action pedal design, the fourchette mechanism, decorations in the Empire style, and in a few cases, the application of a new design principle with the use of an eighth pedal. This documents an important stage in the instrument’s development, in which the single-action pedal harp was gaining ground in competition with the double-action harp. In the course of research, the maker was identified for another two instruments that had previously been listed as harps by anonymous makers. The comparisons include another three specimens of harps made by Brunner from other music collections abroad.
In 1776, the convent of Elizabethan Nuns in Prague’s New Town was commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of two events: the profession of the former Mother Superior M. Deodata a Presentatione B. V. Mariae OSE (née Anna Justina von Klausniz) and the laying of the foundation stone of the convent building. The celebrations of this dual anniversary were also reflected in the institution’s musical life. There was a performance at the convent of a congratulatory cantata with a libretto by the ex-Jesuit Rochus Elinger, and music was composed for it by the local choirmaster M. Juliana a Septem BB. Patribus OSE. On Holy Saturday, there was a performance of the sepolcro Der verlorne Sohn (The Prodigal Son), composed by Emilián Rickert OCist. from the monastery in Zbraslav. That same year, Jáchym Štěpanovský, the cantor from České Budějovice, also dedicated his works to the Mother Superior.
This study reports on interesting holdings in the musical iconography collection of the Czech Museum of Music. Drawings by the sculptor Karel Otáhal (1901–1972) that are related to music and musicians were created for the most part at concerts of the Prague Spring festival between 1946 and 1969. He had already begun making portraits of musicians by the end of his studies, when he created a sculpture of Jan Kubelík. His works are a specific expression of portrait realism and of the ability to capture the typical movement and characteristics of the person depicted. He met in person with musicians, and his drawings bear valuable dedications and commemorative musical quotations by important figures of Czech and foreign music. Unlike the other creators of such drawings, he was merely an enthusiastic observer, but not a caricaturist. Otáhal’s drawings serve as a unique source on the history and dramaturgy of the Prague Spring festival, including its politicization in the 1950s.
Bedřich Smetana made three lists of his own compositions. The first, dated 1841, presents a selection of compositions from the period of his grammar school studies in 1840–1841. The second was made in Sweden in late 1858 and early ’59, and it contains works composed in Prague and Gothenburg between 1845 and 1858. The last, most extensive list was made gradually from 1875 until 1883. The most important list is the second one, which gives a nearly complete overview of Smetana’s works from the 1840s and ’50s, and it is of particular value for the Prague period through 1856, during which the genesis and chronology of his works are less clear. The introductory part of the study characterizes all three lists and provides information about their creation. This is followed by an edition of the second list with commentary. The edition presents a complete version of the list based on the original, and in the appended commentaries, it explains and, where necessary, corrects Smetana’s information on the basis of the sources and of the discoveries of existing Smetana research.
This study gives an overview of lute and guitar tablatures in the holdings of the National Museum (at the Czech Museum of Music and the National Museum Library), and it briefly characterizes them in the form of a catalogue. Since music from the Strahov and Lobkowicz collections, which also involve a rather large set of tablatures, has been returned to its original owners in restitution, the study provides up-to-date information about where this historical material is now kept. It reflects new knowledge and discoveries (lute tablature with the shelf mark KNM Nostic gg 412). The composers presented (e.g. G. P. Foscarini, P. Mutti, N. Vallet, Ch. Mouton, P. I. Jelínek, A. Dix, M. Galilei, J. Dowland, Ch. de Lespine, J. Regnart, S. L. Jacobides, J. Ch. Beyer and many others), living and working in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, are primarily Italian, French, German, and Czech, and with respect to social classes, they represent practically all of the environments where playing on plucked instruments was cultivated.