Recording of the Month, MusicWeb International (2016)
Music in Prague during the reign of Charles IV: Guillaume de Machaut - Dame je sui cilz qui vueil / Fins cuer doulz, Mülich von Prag - Nun siht man aber beide. Otep myrhy, Anjelíku rozkochaný, Dřěvo se listem odiévá, office for the Feast of the Holy Lance and Nails, Alleluia Veselite se (Alleluia, Rejoice), Je languis, Sois tart, Cantio Prima declination, etc.
Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, Artistic Director: David Eben, Hana Blažíková - soprano, Gothic harp, Jakub Kydlíček - recorders
Under the reign of Charles IV (1316-1378), Prague acquired its magical beauty. The astonishing wealth of art and architecture that originated at the time is evident at first glance, yet the King also attended to the blossoming of the city's spiritual and cultural life. While Saint Vitus Cathedral was the most prominent centre of music, variegated genres also flourished at the Prague university (Latin sacred songs and French ars nova) and at the Emmaus Monastery, founded by Charles with the aim to pursue the Slavonic liturgy. Czech songs (The Bundle of Myrrh, The Wood Clads Itself with Leaves), which linked up to the tradition of German Minnesang, were performed in Prague too.
Generally known is Charles IV's reverence for saints and the attendant passion for collecting relics of holy men. The King even initiated the introduction of the Feast Day of the Holy Lance and Nails, part of whose chant repertoire is featured on this album, recorded by the renowned Schola Gregoriana Pragensis ensemble and the soprano Hana Blažíková. The chants and polyphonic songs are supplemented by secular music, with the result being a fascinating picture of the variegated music performed during the reign of Charles IV, showing all its forms.
From the cathedral, university and street: a fascinating picture of the musical life in Prague under Charles IV.
“Vocal delivery is uniformly placid, characterful and yet soft-centred,
even in the polyphonic sections…instrumental participation is sparing and,
in the main, well judged.“ Gramophone, September 2016