The Summer Festivities of Early Music offer a unique musical experience in a beautiful environment

Collegium Marianum

The Summer Festivities of Early Music traditionally offer a unique musical experience in a beautiful environment. The festival, which is extremely popular with music lovers, runs from July 20 to August 5. Its director Josefína Knoblochová explains what visitors can look forward to this year.

“Summer Festivities of Early Music is the name of a festival that focusses entirely on early music – the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and also Rococo musical heritage. It has been held in Prague since the year 2,000 and is now the largest festival focusing on historical performing arts organized in the Czech capital. And what’s special about the festival is that each edition has a special dramaturgical theme and this year it is Nobilitas in Latin - meaning that all seven concerts will reflect aristocratic values, nobility and refinement in its various forms.”

So people will not only be able to hear early music, but early instruments as well?

“Yes, that is true. We are very happy to be able to present some unknown or infrequently played musical instruments, such as the vihuela de arco, the medieval lute, the Baroque triple harp and others.”

This is an international festival – was it hard getting foreign music ensembles here in view of the pandemic?

Calmus Ensemble | Photo: Letní slavnosti staré hudby

“Yes, this circumstance really complicates our work – it is hard to keep up with the rules which change all the time. And the early music ensembles are also quite international in themselves. For example, the ensemble is based in Belgium but its members are partly from Great Britain, partly from Spain and partly from Belgium, so the more countries involved the worse it is – on the other hand it is our job to make everything work as smoothly as possible and we will manage, I am sure.”.

These beautiful concerts of early music require special venues. Where are they taking place?

“That is also something that makes the festival special. We like to choose our venues with special attention to the type of music to be performed there. Not only must the acoustics be perfect but also the atmosphere and the historical style which must correspond with the music. We love to combine the genius loci of a place with the right music and that makes the festival really special. The concerts take place in sacred and secular historical spaces in the capital, for example the Strahov or Emauzy monasteries, the chateau garden in Troja Chateau and festival goers will also have the very first opportunity to look inside the newly renovated Šlechtovka, a summer palace in Stromovka Park.”

Letní slavnosti staré hudby 2021 trailer