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Koncert vážné hudby


In search of musical tradition in Central Bohemia

15. 5. 2024

What do Kolín, Beroun, Vysoká u Příbrami, Nelahozeves and Jabkenice have in common? These places have been honoured by the visits of geniuses of renowned names. Let them inspire you to take a trip.

Follow Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, the jubilant Václav Talich, who would have celebrated his 140th birthday this year, and František Kmoch, whose birth in Zásmuky, Central Bohemia, will be celebrated for the 175th time on 1 August this year. You will get to know the places where the composers stayed, which inspired them and whose atmosphere was reflected in their famous musical works.

St Bartholomew Hillock in Kolín
St Bartholomew Hillock in Kolín
Source: Virtual Visit

Jubilant Kmoch and his Kolín

Kolíne, Kolíne, stojíš v pěkné rovině… (Kolíne, Kolíne, you are standing on a nice plane) so heralds the song, which was adapted from an original folk song by František Kmoch. Thanks to him, Kolín is a city of music and every year plays host to the famous international festival of brass bands called Kmoch’s Kolín. The man who founded the first professional brass band was born in Zásmuky in Central Bohemia, worked in Suchdol and Červené Pečky, and in 1873 permanently moved to Kolín, where he had already built up a great reputation. House number 50 in Kutnohorská Street, where he lived, is decorated with a commemorative plaque. You can also pay tribute to him at the town cemetery in Zálabí. Or head to Kmoch’s Island, named after… Who could it be?

In Kolín, don’t forget to explore the historic square and the well-kept Bartholomew’s Hill stretching around the magnificent landmark of the city – St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. Nearby in the New Parish School, there is the Dvořák Museum of Prehistory, a part of the Regional Museum in Kolín, which hides treasures. In the very centre of the town in Veigert House, for example, it introduces visitors to the historical development of this magnificent house, in Červinka House, it presents trends in the housing and lifestyle of the bourgeoisie in the 19th century, Kolín in the Middle Ages and an exhibition devoted to hygiene and body care over the centuries.

Památník Antonína Dvořáka ve Vysoké u Příbramě
Antonín Dvořák Memorial
Source: Dagmar Malinová

Stroll like Antonín Dvořák

The maestro Antonín Dvořák loved reasonably long walks and it was probably there that he drew inspiration for his work. He walked all around Nelahozeves and its surroundings, from where he used to walk along the Vltava River to visit his relatives in KralupyA marked trail there bears his name today. Visit Dvořák’s memorial in his family home in Nelahozeves, a stone’s throw from the local Renaissance château, and also visit Veltrusy, where Dvořák had concerts in the park and later in the château.

Then head to Vysoká u Příbrami, where the maestro spent his summer months: you will find yourself almost in Rusalka, thanks to the atmosphere of the deep forests and meadows where the water fairies from the famous opera could dance. From Dvořák’s memorial, there is a marked trail leading to Rusalka’s Lake. Dvořák and his neighbours also liked to go to the nearby Svatá Hora. If you wander around the area you should know that at the beginning of his musical career the maestro also played in many villages around Zlonice, in churches or at local parties.

Where did the Czech anthem come from? Josef Kajetán Tyl incorporated impressions from his wanderings around the Vrchlice River into the song Kde domov můj (Where is my home). Follow in his footsteps along the marked nature trail through the Vrchlice valley from Kutná Hora to Vrchlický Waterfalls and Velký rybník.

Stroll along the Midsummer Streams
Stroll along the Midsummer Streams
©Filip Jakubský

The wild inspiration of Bedřich Smetana

Follow Bedřich Smetana to Jabkenice near Mladá Boleslav. Today, you can visit his memorial in the house where the famous composer lived and worked. The house, which stands on the edge of a large game preserve with beautiful natural scenery that inspired the maestro,was originally a gamekeeper’s lodge. Today, you can get a glimpse into the life of the Smetana family through an authentic exhibition.

And where to next in Smetana’s footsteps? Smetana’s viewpoint on the Vltava River near Třebsín remains closed to visitors, but nothing prevents you from looking elsewhere at the former St. John’s Streams at the site of the current Štěchovice dam, which are  heard figuratively in his symphonic poem Vltava from the cycle Má vlast (My Country). The deep Vltava valley with its rocky cliffs just south of Prague is perfect for lovers of romantic wanderings through the countryside. For breathtaking views head to the St. John’s Streams Nature Trail, which begins in Štěchovice near the confluence of the Vltava and the golden-bearing Kocába River. The nine-kilometre route follows the left bank of the river full of forests up to Třebenice and passes above the famous tramp settlement Ztracenka. It is well marked, but please wear sturdy shoes and do not overestimate your strength – the route is one of the most demanding. Beroun

Music Festival Talich’s Beroun
Music Festival Talich’s Beroun
© Talichův Beroun

Explore the work and fate of the Beroun man, Talich

Discover the artistic and personal life of one of the most important conductors of the 20th century, Václav Talich, at the Václav Talich Memorial Hall in the Museum of the Bohemian Karst in Beroun. Why in Beroun? The famous conductor spent the last part of his life there in his family villa. He found a peaceful refuge here in the Brdatka valley, part of which now bears his name, after he grew tired of his foreign engagements and decided to primarily work in Czechoslovakia. He bought a villa in close contact with nature here in 1936. In the Memorial Hall, his life and fame are documented by photographs, report cards, manuscript notes, sheet music, theatre programmes, letters from friends and admirers, awards, diplomas and honourable mentions.

This year’s 42nd year of the famous international music festival Talich’s Beroun, which opens at the end of September, celebrates the anniversary of the conductor’s birth – this May marked the 140th anniversary of his birth.

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