More than a hundred Prague bells will ring for ten minutes to honor the victims of the war

The bells at the Church of the Mother of God in front of Týn will also ring. Photo: Prague City Tourism


On Sunday, September 3 at 6pm, more than a hundred bells will ring for ten minutes in the historic center of Prague on both banks of the Vltava – among others, Týn Church, St. St. Nicholas or St. Nicholas Cathedral Welcome, Václav and Vojtěch. The ring will honor the memory of the victims of the war and at the same time symbolically mark the evening concert of the Prague Sounds festival at Prague Castle, where Benjamin Britten’s monumental War Requiem will be heard in a magnificent performance in the Vladislav Hall.

Iconic pieces of 20th century music will be performed by the symbolically linked PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Czech Philharmonic and Kyiv Symphony Orchestra orchestras, Prague Philharmonic Choir and Radost Praha Children’s Choir under the direction of Lukáš Vasilek.

German soprano Susanne Bernhard, American tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven, Swedish baritone Arvid Fagerfjäll and Czech organist Linda Sítková will perform as soloists. Thanks to footage by Czech Television and European cultural platform TV Arte Concert, the artistic message of the metropolis of Prague will reach audiences across Europe.

“The sound of bells has long been associated with important events. Therefore, the bells also announced the end of the war, but also commemorated and mourned those who died. After all, on many of the bells one can find Czech or Latin inscriptions: ´I praise God, I call out to the living, I mourn the dead…´ At a time when we hear every day about hundreds of victims of senseless wars. the conquest is only a few hundred kilometers from us, the ringing of the bell is also a stimulus for reflection and prayer for the victims of war,” Prague Sounds festival director Marek Vrabec explained the purpose of the whole event.

In addition, the War Requiem performance from 8pm in the Vladislav Hall will begin and end with the requiem bells of St. Michael’s Cathedral. Likewise, the new bell sound #9801 was introduced at last year’s Concert for Europe festival on the surface of the Vltava.

“The War Requiem performance can be seen not only as a tribute to the victims of the war, but also as a very memorable rally towards the end of the war, which will be amplified by the unique surroundings and acoustics of the Vladislav Hall in Prague. Castle – an extraordinary concert of an extraordinary work in an extraordinary time,” added Marek Vrabec, who at the same time, he reminded that this was one of the first important cultural events in Vladislav Hall after many years of inaugural opening of Prague Castle to the public after the election of a new president.

British composer Benjamin Britten wrote War Requiem in 1962 to mark the completion of the restoration of Coventry’s Gothic Cathedral after its destruction during World War II. It is based on the codified Latin text of a Mass for the Dead, but interspersed with verses by Wilfred Owen, a British officer who wrote poetry right in the trenches of World War I. The work therefore sounds like a great pacifist manifesto that appeals to listeners. with powerful lyrics and music. Due to the monumentality and demands of the cast, this film is rarely shown.

The main part of the Prague Sounds festival, formerly known as Strings of Autumn, will take place from November 1 to 18. For example, English singer Benjamin Clementine, African singer Angélique Kidjo with a tribute to Talking Heads, Canadian singer and musician Owen Pallett, British electronic magician Nathan Fake, legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter, rising star of the British hip-hop scene Kofi Stone, Leading American string quartet JACK Quartet will perform in tribute to John Zorn, electronic music pioneers Alva Noto and Ensemble Modern with a special audiovisual project, as well as house band Bert & Friends with their unconventionally composed piano pieces.

More information and full program at praguesounds. cz.

Camilla Salazar

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