of Classical Music
A Musical Journey to Prague, Vienna and Budapest
September 8th – 16th, 2018
PRAGUE and a taste of Music
Early evidence of music from this region is documented in manuscripts from the library of the Cistercian monastery in Vyšší Brod (founded in 1259). One of the most important is manuscript No. 42, from 1410. It contains a hymn called Jezu Kriste, ščedrý kněže (“Jesus Christ Bountiful Prince”), that people would sing during the preaching of John Huss.
With the development of towns in the 15th century, music started to play an important role in two Bohemian centers: Prachatice and Sušice. Václav z Prachatic (Václav of Prachatice) dealt with the theory of music at the Charles University in Prague. His manuscript Musica magistrii Johannis de Muris accurtata de musica Boethii is a collective work on the theory of music inspired by the thoughts of Johan de Muris, who worked in Paris, and is in the university library.
Extensive musical activities in Prachatice took place in the second half of the 16th century during the Renaissance, a notable period of literátská bratrstva (“men of letters brotherhoods”). Their main focus was community singing performed during ceremonial services. The brotherhood established its memorial book in 1575, which described its activities until 1949, when the brotherhood perished. The Habsburg Counter-Reformation in Bohemia after 1620 also affected music in the region. Catholic priests performed Gregorian chorals, while the people sang spiritual songs often based on the Protestant tradition. This ended in a new Catholic edition of hymn books such as Capella regia musicalis.
The Czech classicism period is exemplified by František Xaver Brixi, Johann Baptist Wanhal, and Augustin Šenkýř. Among the 18th and 19th century composers are Vincenc Mašek (CS), Jan Jakub Ryba, Jan August Vitásek. In the 19th century German and Austrian productions also had their place here. The founder of Czech national music Bedřich Smetana was inspired by the Bohemian Forest while creating his symphonic poem Vltava. Antonín Dvořák was also inspired by the Bohemian Forest in his piece called Klid pro violoncello a orchestr.
The traditional music of Bohemia and Moravia influenced the work of composers like Leoš Janáček, Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, and Bohuslav Martinů. Earlier composers from the region include Adam Michna, Heinrich Biber, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Johann Wenzel Stamitz and Johann Ladislaus Dussek. (from Wikipedia)
PRAGUE, the city
Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and also the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.4 million people, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of 2.2 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.
Prague has been a political, cultural and economic centre of central Europe complete with a really rich history. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras, Prague was the capital of the kingdom of Bohemia and the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most notably of Charles IV. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city played major roles in the Bohemian and Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War and in 20th-century history as the capital of Czechoslovakia, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square with the Prague astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, Petřín hill and Vyšehrad. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The city has more than ten major museums, along with numerous theaters, galleries, cinemas and other historical exhibits. An extensive modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University in Prague, the oldest university in Central Europe.
Prague is classified as a “Beta+” global city according to GaWC studies and ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination and as of 2014, the city receives more than 6.4 million international visitors annually. Prague is the fifth most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome. For more information on Prague you may click on the Wikipedia sight: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague
Included as part of your journey…Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
- Discover the beauty of historical Prague at your own pace on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour
- Hop on and off the bus at any of the stops and visit Prague attractions of your choice
- The 8-stop tour ensures that you witness many of the landmarks and attractions of this cultural hub
- Enjoy a free 20-minute guided walking tour from Stop 1 to Stop 2
- Audio commentary in many languages ensures that you don’t miss a thing!
Attractions included in the tour are:
• Old Town Square: This is the heart of the city, featuring architectural styles from different eras; admire the baroque St. Nicholas Church and gothic Týn Church.
• Masarykovo Nádraží: This railway station came into service in 1845, making it the second oldest station in Prague. It was the first station in the city to serve steam trains.
• Mala Strana: One of the most historic districts of Prague features historical baroque buildings such as the Wallenstein palace built in the 1600s, currently serving as the home of the Czech Senate.
• Prague Castle: The Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices here. The Guinnes Book of Records lists the castle as the largest ancient castle in the world. The Czech crown jewels are also stored here in a hidden room.
• Strahov Monastery: A calm oasis rising above the roofs of the city, hop off to take a leisurely stroll and admire the views over Mala Strana.
• Strahov Stadium: With a capacity of 220 000 this stadium is the largest in the world, however it is no longer used for sport events but instead serves as a training centre for the Sparta Prague football club and hosts various concerts.
• Kampa Island: The Kampa Island on the Vltava River, recently titled as the second most beautiful city island in the world, is a must-see for any visitor to Prague. Featuring a large park and a modern art museum, this is a wonderful place to stop and relax for a moment.
• Hlavní Nádraží: The largest and most important railway station in Prague is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau aesthetics. The station handles international services to many surrounding countries.
You can end the tour by hopping off at any of the stops.