Encore: From Dvorak's Irish inspiration to 17th century "BohemianVespers"

In this programme we look at a new set of CDs of Dvorak's choral work, we find out a bit more about the Czech-born composer whose work was played at Mozart's memorial service in Prague and we enjoy a new CD of Bohemian church music.

Dvorak's Irish inspiration

We start with a couple of Irish folk songs. What makes them unusual is that they were arranged by Dvorak and are sung in Czech. They come on a new 3 CD set containing Dvorak's complete choruses and duets on the Brilliant label.

Dvorak was eclectic in where he looked for inspiration. As we see on these CDs he arranged not only Irish songs but Russian and Lithuanian songs as well. We do not hear so much of his vocal music these days, but when he was a young man his choral music played an important role in his career. He sent his Moravian Duets to Vienna as part of a competition for an Austrian state stipendium. Brahms was on the selection committee, and these pieces made such a good impression on him that he kept them and sent them, without Dvorak knowing about it, to Brahms' own publisher, Simrock. Simrock accepted them, and went on to commission Dvorak's famous Slavonic Dances. Thus Dvorak's career was launched!

This excellent set features the Prague Singers, led by Stanislav Mistr.

Rössler-Rosetti: a Czech-born contemporary of Mozart

Not long ago we did a special show honoring Mozart on the 250th anniversary of his birth, and mentioned that at his memorial ceremony in Prague, attended by thousands, a requiem by one Rössler-Rosetti was performed. It turns out he was one of many Czech-born musicians who made their lives in the wider world. He called himself Antonio Rosetti, instead of his given name Anton Rössler. He was born around 1750, the year of Bach's death, in Litomerice, and worked in Germany, mainly at the court of Count Oettingen-Wallerstein. (You might have come across Wallerstein Castle, famous for its Lipizzaner stallions!) Rössler has his own website - the International Rosetti Society at www.rosetti.de, and there is an annual festival devoted to his music in Germany.

A new CD of "Bohemian Vespers"

To end we go back even further in time with a new recording from the Prague Chamber Singers called 'Bohemian Vespers' which features music by a number of lesser-known Czech-born church composers.

Vespers are the evening prayer service in the Roman Catholic Church, and the Prague Chamber Singers have stitched together a concert version of Vespers, using pieces from various sources, and including some works, such as instrumental sonatas that would not ordinarily be found in a church or monastic vesper service.

On this CD look out for the Magnificat, that is the song of Mary, set to music by father Alberik Mazak, a Cisterician monk born in Ratibor, Silesia, who lived from 1609 till 1661, composing copiously all the while.

CDs reviewed in this programme are provided by Siroky Dvur