The cult of St Wenceslas in music: St. Wenceslas Chorale

St Wenceslas

The cult of St Wenceslas is ever-present in Czechia, not least in the field of music. The best example of this is the St. Wenceslas Chorale.

The Saint Wenceslas Chorale is a church hymn and one of the oldest known Czech songs, which is part of the cult of St. Wenceslas in music. Its roots date back to the 12th century. The content of the hymn is a prayer to Saint Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia and the Czech patron saint, to intercede for his nation, to help protect it from injustice and ensure its salvation. The hymn is still performed today, usually on special occasions such as St Wenceslas Day. In 1918, when Czechoslovakia was established it was even discussed as a possible theme for the national anthem.

In 1895, Josef Klička, a Czech organist, composer, conductor and pedagogue at the Music Conservatory in Prague, composed a concert fantasia on the St. Wenceslas Chorale.

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