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Dies numini et principi

Augustin Šenkýř
Prague Crossroads - St Anne’s Church

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National Theatre Orchestra
Harpsichord: Filip Dvořák
Czech Radio Children's Choir - Choirmaster: Věra Hrdinková

Approximate running time, including intermission: 2 hours, one 20-minute intermission.

A unique opportunity to encounter the music of Augustin Šenkýř, an unjustly overlooked Czech Rococo composer, will be afforded by a performance of his congratulatory cantata Dies Numini et Principi, dating from 1770. The magnificent piece will be presented in modern-time premiere on 15 December 2018 at the Prague Crossroads – St. Anna’s Church, by the conductor Zdeněk Klauda, who specialises in performing rediscovered Czech Classicist works. A similar rediscovery, that of J. J. Ryba’s Stabat mater, has earned him the prestigious Diapason D’Or. The vocal parts will be sung by the young soloists Markéta Böhmová, Yukiko Kinjo, Michaela Zajmi, Stanislava Jirků, Jakub Koś and Roman Hoza, who will be accompanied by the Czech Radio Children’s Choir and the National Theatre Orchestra. As Zdeněk Klauda put it, “in its character and structure, the music written by the Regens Chori of the Emmaus Monastery for the needs of the Benedictines in Broumov is actually reminiscent of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s early works. Šenkýř composed a melodic, refined Rococo piece, devoid of unnecessary pomposity and imbued with an opulent sound.”
Augustin Šenkýř was born on 23 December 1736 in Dobruška, Bohemia. In 1764, he took the Benedictine vows at the Emmaus Monastery in Prague, where a year later he was ordained as a priest. He died on 16 January 1796 in Prague. Šenkýř was a brilliant organist and player of the viola da gamba, for which he even wrote a treatise on the fundamental principles of its playing, Fundament für die Viola da gamba. The best-known of his numerous pupils was the composer František Josef Dusík. In his time, Šenkýř‘s works enjoyed great popularity. Much of his church music has survived at monasteries and churches in Prague, as well as in Roudnice, Klatovy, Želiva, Choceň, Broumov and Žamberk. In terms of style, his pieces, straddling Baroque and Classicism, are melodious, frequently featuring folk elements and sophisticated instrumental accompaniment. Dies Numini et Principi has been ascribed to Šenkýř on the basis of the latest research, carried out by Jiří Mikuláš and Kamil Remeš, who, as a result of comparing the text of a play deposited at the archives in Náchod and the autograph score maintained at the Czech Museum of Music, have confirmed that the two artefacts are clearly related. The cantata has been included in the programme of the National Theatre Orchestra chamber music concerts owing to Jakub Hrubý, who pursuant to the preserved period materials has scored it for contemporary performance.

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