12 Best of the Czech Republic
A Renaissance
Treasure Trove
Filled with Music
In the rolling Eastern
Bohemian landscape full
of sun is the small town of
Litomyšl, which surrounds
a castle inscribed on the
UNESCOcultural heritage
list. History has created a
marvellous urban complex
here, enchantingly harmonic
In the arcades of the
Renaissance houses on
Litomyšl square, warm air
shimmers lazily. Litomyšl is
a white pearl in a Renaissance
necklace. The majestic
complex of historical houses,
churches, and cloisters is
topped off with a lovely
chateau, where the sun
pours on the sgraffiti and
wind blows through the airy
loggias. Inside, there is a
charming courtyard,
a Baroque theatre, opulent
halls, an exhibition of
historic pianos, a mysterious
basement as well as the
Did you know that in
addition to its great
classical heritage, Czech
music has also contributed
some small pearls to the
world? One of them is the
famous Beer Barrel Polka
(Rosamunde), which during
the SecondWorldWar
became a sort of anthem
for soldiers on both sides
of the front. It was written
in 1927 by the composer
and bandleader Jaromír
Vejvoda as Škoda lásky
(Wasted Love) – his first
chateau tower reaching
to the sky. The chateau is
surrounded by a fascinating
English-style park and a
French garden. And there
is music in the air. Bedřich
Smetana, one of the most
important Czech composers,
was born here in 1824 and the
city, proud of its native son,
has hosted the prestigious
Smetana’s Litomyšl opera
festival for six decades.
Every Czech is a Musician
Czechs love music. The
heritage of Czech music is
rich, beautiful and varied, just
like the country’s landscape.
Its charm and rawness can
be heard in the symphonies
and operas, are reflected in
the colourful and passionate
folklore, and resonate in
dreamy jazz melodies.
The treasure box of Czech
music has been filled by
composers, many of whom
form an unforgettable part
of the world concert stage.
Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich
Smetana, and Leoš Janáček
are the three most famous
ones. But right behind them
is a long list of other musical
geniuses – Bohuslav Martinů,
Josef Suk, Josef Mysliveček,
Jan Václav Stamic, and Jan
Dismas Zelenka, as well as
Gustav Mahler who was born
and raised close to Jihlava,
in the Bohemian-Moravian
Highlands. Czech performers
have also achieved worldwide
renown – conductors Václav
Talich, Václav Neumann,
Karel Ančerl, Jiří Bělohlávek,
and Libor Pešek, the brilliant
opera singers Emma
Destinová, Magdalena
Kožená, Dagmar Pecková, and
Eva Urbanová, and the many
Czech virtuosos of classical
and jazz music…
Music clearly has a home in
the Czech Republic.
Musical inspiration
Chateau Theatre
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