1939 – 22th Segment: Nice and Lively


In this series we introduce 100 songs which have gone down in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. They became popular by being played throughout important years and time periods or by winning the hit parade. Now it is up to you, our listeners, to vote for the best Czech song of the century. We continue with the year 1939.

In this series we have already mentioned the triumvirate of protectorate songwriters from the first Republic focused on creating operettas and film music. These included excerpts from Jára Beneš’s and Josef Stelibský’s productions, which you have also voted for.

Today we remember the third most notable songwriter. Jaroslav (or Jarda) Jankovec, a longtime bandleader and writer of successful operettas in Prague, was a strong rival for Beneš and Stelibský. Not only were his operetta songs popular, but they also had a distinctive worldliness about them. The song style even impacted the fast paced dances of rural Bohemia, called furiants.

One of Jankovec’s most successful operettas was “The Love of Her Highness,” which premiered in the fall of 1939. To this day, we still hear the popular polka song that goes, “Band, play me the polka with energy, nice and lively.” Back then, the inventive melody went “…Let this tin trumpet blow, nicely in Czech, without stopping until the world’s end!” So when the German protectorates created the plan to liquidate our nation, this operetta song became a little Švejk-like, serving as a mass expression of Czech defiance and hope.