Mailbox

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Today in Mailbox: Ways to listen to our broadcasts, lost mail, Radio Prague's monthly competition. Listeners/readers quoted: Deblina Biswas, S J Agboola, Mary Krenek, Jaroslaw Jedrzejczak, Hans Verner Lollike.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s listeners’ letters programme.

Thank you very much for your feedback, including reception reports. Just a reminder: our broadcasts are available on the internet where you can listen both to the whole half hour transmissions and individual stories. You can also tune in to Radio Prague via satellite in Europe, Africa and Asia and the Pacific on the WRN English channel five times a day. The current broadcasting schedule is available on our website. Radio Prague’s transmissions are also rebroadcast by a number of shortwave stations, among them Radio Miami International. You can also access our programmes on your mobile device. Whichever way you prefer to listen to our broadcasts, your reception reports will be verified by one of our eight QSL cards featuring industrial monuments of the Czech Republic.

Now onto your mail. Deblina Biswas from India sent us this e-mail:

“On viewing my name as the Mailbox Prize winner on 24th of January 2015, my joy knew no bounds. On 24th January 2015 itself, I had sent you an e-mail expressing my best thanks and gratitude for selecting my entry as a Prize winner I had also requested you to forward the prize through Registered Air Mail. The e-mail was like a SOS on apprehension that the prize might be lost in transit. With a sorrowful heart I declare in the name of God that my first Prize from a prestigious International Broadcaster like Radio Prague has not arrived till this day.”

We are very sorry to hear that. International post seems to be getting ever more unreliable as far as our experience is concerned – with even registered parcels getting lost or delayed. We hope the replacement parcel reaches you safely.

S J Agboola from Nigeria sent us this complaint:

Photo: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“I and my family members are regular listeners to this station. However, I want to state that I doubt the integrity, fairness and credibility of this station in choosing the winners of its monthly quiz competition. Since 2008, I have been taking part in this monthly competition and presenting the correct answer in almost all the questions. Yet, at the end of each month, when the names of the winners are announced, my name is always absent. I wonder which criteria are used for choosing the winners. Something concrete should be done to this issue because of the good name, reputation and image which this station has built over the years.”

According to my records, you were one of the winners announced on July 13th 2008 and in February 2009 Catherine Agboola with the same postal address was selected winner of our monthly competition. In those days Radio Prague sent out three prizes each month, to a total of 36 winners a year. With only 12 winners a year since 2010 and well over a hundred listeners participating each month, you can count the probability rate of winning for yourself.

Today the name of another winner will be revealed, after we hear some of your answers to last month’s question:

Mary Krenek from the United States sent us this:

Oskar Kokoschka, photo: Erling Mandelmann, CC BY-SA 3.0
“Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian artist, poet, and playwright best known for his expressionistic portraits and landscapes. His father, Gustav Kokoschka, was a Czech goldsmith. He grew close to his mother, Maria Romana Kokoschka, when his father failed to provide the financial help needed for the family during his childhood. In secondary school, he found that he only excelled in art and spent most of his time reading classical literature during his other lessons. This education in classic literature influenced his future artwork.

“Kokoschka had a passionate love affair with Alma Mahler that began in 1912. After several years, she rejected him, but he continued to love her throughout his entire life. One of his greatest works, ‘The Bride of the Wind,’ is a tribute to her. His poem ‘Allos Makar’ was inspired by this relationship.

“He volunteered for service as a cavalryman in the Austrian army in World War I and was seriously wounded. The doctors decided he was mentally unstable but he continued to develop his career as an artist, traveling across Europe painting landscapes.

“In 1978, he regained his Austrian citizenship. He travelled to the United States in 1947 before settling in Switzerland where he lived the rest of his life. His ‘Orpheus und Eurydike’ (1918) became an opera by Ernst Krenek.”

Deblina Biswas from India wrote:

“He was born on 1st March 1886 in the Lower Austrian town of Pöchlarn on the Danube. His father Gustav Joseph, a Czech, came from a well known family of Prague goldsmiths. His mother, Maria Romana came from the mountain region of Stynia.

'Charles Bridge' by Oskar Kokoschka, photo: Miroslav Krupička
“Oskar wanted to study chemistry but was recommended for a state scholarship in 1904, from the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. He volunteered in WW I but was unluckily dismissed during 1915, after being severely wounded. After returning from war, he was appointed as a professor at the Dresden Art Academy. He left Dresden after the death of his father and did not return there. Then he travelled extensively through Europe, the Middle East and North Africa during the period from 1924 to 1933. He created his best works mostly as a portraitist. But beside his activity as a painter, he wrote poetry as well. His first poetry book was released in 1908 named ‘Die Traumenden Knaben‘ and the illustrations insides were made by him only. He also wrote an one-act play entitled ‘Sphinx and Strohamann‘ and an expressionist-play entitled as ‘Murder, Hoffnung der Frauen‘. During the period from 1953 to 1963 he was the Director of the Salzburg Summer Academy School of Vision. In 1947 Oskar took the British citizenship. He died in the Swiss town of Montreux on 22nd February 1980.”

Jaroslaw Jedrzejczak from Poland writes:

“Oskar Kokoschka was in Poland during WWII. In 1938, when the Czechs began to mobilize for the expected invasion of the Wehrmacht, he fled to the United Kingdom and remained there during the war. With the help of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia (later the Czech Refugee Trust Fund), all members of the OKB were able to escape through Poland and Sweden.”

Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark wrote:

“Oskar joined the art academy in Prague against his father’s will where he developed his skills as an expressionist painter. His paintings were considered degenerate by the Nazis, so he decided to flee from Vienna in 1934, when Hitler took over, again in 1938 he fled to UK, where he stayed and became a citizen. Later in his life he settled in Switzerland.

'T. G. Masaryk' by Oskar Kokoschka, photo: Miroslav Krupička
“I had never heard about him before but find his art very interesting. I have seen many fascinating paintings and sculptures by other artists considered as degenerate: Emil Nolde and Ernst Barlach, both related to Northern Germany, not so far from Denmark, but I will certainly be looking for paintings of Oskar Kokoschka.”

Thank you for your answers and this time the prize goes to Mohammed Nazih from Morocco. Congratulations and here’s a new question for you for the coming weeks.

This time we’d like to know the name of the violinist and composer, born in 1795 in the East Bohemian town of Ústí nad Orlicí. He studied in Brno and Vienna where he subsequently became music director and professor at the university. For almost twenty years he lived in London. He finally returned to Vienna where he died in 1875.

Please send us your answers as usual to english@radio.cz by April 15th. It is also the address for your questions, comments and reception reports. Please keep them coming. You can also leave your comments on our Facebook page. Until next time happy listening and take care.