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Emmy Destinn Memorabilia from the Estate of Hilda Schueler-Mosert

Abstract

In 2017 the National Museum – Czech Museum of Music obtained a rare set of memorabilia for the singer Emmy Destinn (1878–1930) from the estate of her friend Hilda Schueler-Mosert (1888–1965). The two women met in ca. 1905, and they remained in contact until Emmy Destinn’s death. Hilda Schueler, a German sculptress and painter, was forced to flee Germany with her husband in 1942 because of their Jewish origins. After the war, they settled in Sweden. The set of material contains letters, programmes and posters, newspaper clippings, photographs of the two women, and phonograph records. The items were donated by Hilda Schueler’s grandchildren, who live in Sweden.

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Erard Harps in the Collection of the Czech Museum of Music

Abstract

The present harp collection of the National Museum – Czech Museum of Music contains Erard pedal harps from various periods of that famed Parisian company’s activity. In creating musical instruments, Sébastian Erard built upon the work of G. Cousineau and C. Groll and became the most successful manufacturer of double-action pedal harps with a fourchette (fork) mechanism (mécanique à fourchettes et à double mouvement). Erard’s work as an instrument maker influenced not only the historical development of the harp, but also the work of other instrument makers. In Bohemia, the Czech harp maker Alois Červenka (1858–1938) built upon Erard’s work with great success. The Erard harps in the collection of the Czech Museum of Music document the Czech socio-cultural context in which the harps of the French instrument maker were used from the late nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth.

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Folklorism as an Invention of the State. Contributions of Polish Ethnomusicologists in Historical Perspective

Abstract

Folklorism is presented as a component of culture change. The aim of the article is to show how ethno- and musicologists, folklorists, music teachers, broadcasters, and others, have influenced traditional peasant culture in times of fundamental transformation during the 20th century, and how they have contributed to its documentation, understanding and invention of new meanings, including the Polishness of folklore in Poland. This review aims to exemplify this process. Each European country has its own history in this respect. The text consists of three parts. In the first one, folklore is confronted with social history; the second one is dedicated to generations of ethnomusicologists; the third one is dedicated to contemporary functions of music traditions and the role of ethnomusicologists, with emphasis on applied ethnomusicology. The comments on applied ethnomusicology summarise the author’s experiences acquired during field research in Poland since 1975 and attempt to demonstrate how the past (of traditional culture and music, including re/invented national values) is being transformed in the present or, rather, how history fuses with the present time.

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Medieval Organ Tablature on a Manuscript Fragment from the National Museum Library

Abstract

The manuscript fragment in the collection of the National Museum Library in Prague under shelf mark 1 D a 3/52 is a sheet of paper with writing on both sides, containing two strata of inscriptions. The first stratum consists of accounting records, one of which is dated to 1356. That is also the terminus post quem for the other stratum of inscriptions, namely the musical notation of two liturgical plainchants in two-voice organ paraphrases. This involves the introit Salve, sancta parens and the Kyrie magne Deus. The discant is written in black mensural notation on a staff, while the tenor, which quotes the plainchant melody, is partially written in musical notation on the same staff, partially notated by letters for note names, and partially only indicated by syllables of text of the original plainchant. This notation documents the transition from practise without notation to the written notation of music for keyboard instruments, and it significantly supplements the material found in treatises from the milieu of the ars organisandi, which are available to us from fifteenth-century manuscripts.

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Musical Activity of the Cantors of the Studnička Family from Suchomasty near Beroun

Abstract

The music library of the Elizabethan Nuns in Prague contains a collection of music that was copied by cantors of the Studnička family from the village Suchomasty near Beroun. The first cantor in Suchomasty from 1769 was Josef Jan Jakoubek (1751–1810), the uncle of Jakub Jan Ryba, and after his departure for Mníšek pod Brdy in 1785, his successor was František Vincenc Studnička (1764–1826). František Ladislav Studnička (1797–1864) carried on the family tradition, followed by Otomar Studnička (1845 – after 1900), who later went to Prague and took the family music collection with him. He worked as a teacher at a public school in Libeň, then at the Saint Wenceslas Prison in Prague’s New Town. From 1884 he continued his work as a teacher at the prison in Pilsen-Bory. In 1889 he donated the family music collection to a convent of the Elizabethan Nuns. That material was integrated into the convent’s collection, and it was still being used in the twentieth century.

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The Myth of Polishness in Polish Dances. How Ideologies Interpret Phenomena Related to Music and Movement

Abstract

The article discusses the myth of Polishness in the context of dances which gained the social status of ‘national’ ones, i.e. those incorporated into the canon of national culture. I shall start by establishing the terminology and chronology related to the phenomenon of ‘national dance’, and sum up Mieczysław Tomaszewski’s comments on the ways of expressing nationality in music, including dance, and the various aspects of this phenomenon. Methodologically speaking, the present paper is based on the concept of myth as presented by Joseph Campbell, Leszek Kołakowski and Maria Janion, as well as on the findings of Jan Berting, Christiane Villain-Gandossi, Maria Janion and Jan Stęszewski concerning the phenomenon of stereotypes, which are crucial to defining a myth. The main body of my text has been dedicated to the conditions in which the myth of Polish dance was born, its form and relation to the ideology of Sarmatism then current among the Polish nobility, and to its subsequent transformations. Further transformations took place mainly under the influence of a specifically conceived Romanticism, in which the nation’s struggle for liberation took pride of place, accompanied by the cult of the family as a bastion of national culture, in which women played a prominent role as model wives and mothers, as well as by an interest in folk culture, which attracted the upper social strata to folk dances and led to the emergence of the claim (unsupported by existing sources) that the nobility’s dances had folk origins (this myth was particularly popular among the adherents of chłopomania, i.e. the intelligentsia’s fascination with, and interest in, the peasantry). In the final section I point to the durability of the myths concerning Polish national dances, which – thanks to educational efforts and to broadly conceived artistic work – are universally present in the social consciousness also today.

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The Polish School of Composition in 20th-Century Music – A Recapitulation

Abstract

The present paper concerns the concept of ‘the Polish School of Composition’, well established in writings on music composed in the 2nd half of the 20th century, but still resisting attempts to define it clearly. I sum up the ways authors have talked about the Polish School of Composition to date, both from the internal (Polish) and external (foreign) points of view. I also examine the musical differentia specifica (such as aspects of style, composition technique and expression in works associated with this phenomenon) and the extramusical (mostly social and political) contexts which have determined the evolving approaches to the phenomenon in question. I begin with the origin of the term itself and discuss its subsequent interpretations until the present. From this perspective, the Polish School of Composition appears to be a kind of mythic narrative, a proposed way of ordering and understanding the past realities, transcending the categories of truth and falsehood, and working primarily in the sphere of emotions.

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