Album detail
Catalogue number: SU 4338-2

In its time (1982–1997), the Musica Antiqua Praha was one of the most important European ensembles specialising in historically informed performance of Baroque music. Its founder and leader, Pavel Klikar, pioneered the use of preserved Baroque instruments or their exact replicas, copies of Baroque bows, period singing techniques and unequal temperaments. The ensemble’s repertoire was based on Klikar’s longtime work as a musicologist and on performing forgotten gems.


Pavel 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 an otherworldly experience is their humility, refinement, contemplative depth and breathtaking purity.


Before releasing the ensemble’s set of complete recordings called Mystery of Early Baroque, we interviewed Pavel Klikar as well as lutenist and executive producer Přemysl Vacek, who largely contributed to the release of this set.

Mr. Klikar, the new complete set of the Musica Antiqua Praha’s five albums is called Mystery of Early Baroque. What do you think this mystery lies in?

The music of the Early Baroque had that unique, almost alchemic quality of using sound to affect listeners’ minds and arouse their emotions. Its sophisticated rich harmony and intoxicating melodiousness caused joyful ecstasy and deep communion – and that is still true these days. Each of the five albums in this set has its own unique atmosphere and is programmed in such a way that the listening experience is nice as well as exciting.

What would you point out as the most important legacy of your ensemble now, four decades later?

In its time, the Musica Antiqua Praha was probably the only European ensemble specialising exclusively in the music of the Early Baroque. Its radical purist approach to the style ruled out any compromise and made no allowances for any marketing aspects required in the commercial sector. Only as a result of that could all its members devote themselves to long-term and systematic work and achieve unparalleled conception of performance full of pure tones, natural phrasing, and fine micro agogics with the whole ensemble breathing and living like a single being.

Mr. Vacek, what do you think the Musica Antiqua Praha’s recordings may mean to today’s listeners?

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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