1936 – 19th segment: Evening above Prague (Večer nad Prahou)

Photo: archive of Prague City Hall

In this series we introduce 100 songs that have gone down in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Vote in the big poll of the 100 Hits of the Republic and pick the greatest hit today. We continue with the year 1935.


On July 13th, the legendary Slovak bullet train travelled on the tracks of between Prague and Bratislava.

In August, TV signal was captured for the first time in Czechoslovakia.

On October 5th, Czech president and playwright Václav Havel was born.

The most successful composers of operetta during the First Republic were a sort of triumvirate: Jára Beneš, Jaroslav Jankovec, and the youngest, Josef Stelibský. As it was with other composers, Stelibský’s well-known melodies were not allowed to be heard for many years. This was because after February 1948, when the Communist Party came to power, Josef Stelibský left his homeland and emigrated in good faith. He was not successful outside Czechoslovakia and he eventually died abroad. His death was probably caused by a hopeless yearning for his homeland.

Photo: archive of Prague City Hall
Stelibský was acknowledged as the master of romantic tangos. He wrote a countless number of them. We have decided to introduce a tango from Stelibský’s first operetta, "Stretch Out Your Hand to Happiness," from 1936. It is a celebration of the beauty of our capital city, Prague.

In this melody, Stelibský can’t deny the genuine love he has for what he is singing about. His tango, “Evening above Prague,” was also played by Josef Zíma and Alena Rychetská, along with the Sláva Kunst band. It is clear that Josef Stelibský had a lot to remember, in addition to Prague, after he emigrated.