Album detail
Catalogue number: SU 4338-2

In 1988–1996, the Musica Antiqua Praha recorded five albums for Supraphon, including a wide repertoire ranging from the Italian Early Baroque to Czech Baroque Christmas songs. These recordings remain a timeless testimony to the ensemble’s artistry, humility, refinement and contemplative depth. Their remarkable albums are now being presented to listeners again, as a 5-CD set called Mystery of Early Baroque, which is to be released by Supraphon on 26 April 2024.  

In 1982, musician and musicologist Pavel Klikar founded the Musica Antiqua Praha ensemble, which quickly became a revelation on the music scene. His approach to the performance of Baroque music was like a fresh breeze in the conservative atmosphere of that time. The ensemble specialised in reconstructing period instruments, studying historical scores and exploring the magic of early tunings. The Musica Antiqua Praha revived little known Italian Early Baroque compositions, which they played with unprecedented purity and lightness. They collaborated with important music figures, such as Reinhard Goebel, Christopher Hogwood, Peter Holman and Andrew Parrott, and inspired many singers and musicians to found their own ensembles.

At the time of its inception, i.e. in the 1980s, the Musica Antiqua Praha was literally a revelation and a breath of fresh air in the stale atmosphere, (not only) in terms of music performance, of the country which was conserved by totalitarianism. Pavel Klikar created an archive of music scores and explored, together with the musicians, the magic of early tunings of period instruments. The ensemble was inspired by encounters with music figures, such as Reinhard Goebel, Christopher Hogwood, Peter Holman and Andrew Parrott. Klikar managed to enthuse exceptional singers and musicians, who would later found their own ensembles and become established as some of the best in early music. The Musica Antiqua Praha gradually recorded five albums for Supraphon, containing repertoire ranging from the Italian Early Baroque (Grandi, Legrenzi) and unique music gems preserved in the Kroměříž bishopric archives to sweet and poetic Christmas songs from Czech Baroque hymnals. Although the existence of the ensemble is now history, its recordings remain timeless and thus cannot be regarded as simply “archival.” What still enchants the listener and brings a unique experience is their humility, refinement, contemplative depth and breathtaking purity.

Musica Antiqua Praha’s lutenist Přemysl Vacek, who largely contributed to the new release as executive producer, says: “The now legendary founder and leader of the ensemble, Pavel Klikar, was a kind of apostle of authentic performance of early music in Czechoslovakia. As a perfectionist, he strived for absolute impeccability of both performance and sound. As a result, he achieved a timeless quality, which still seems to be fresh and youthful and remains to be a source of inspiration for other generations of explorers of unknown musical worlds. I am really happy that we have now managed to release all these unique albums as a whole.”

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