Publication details

“Substitute religiosity” and Czech classical music of the 1920s and 1930s



Year of publication 2014
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This paper, which is drawn from a PhD research project, deals with the crisis of traditional religiosity, connected with radical change of mentality after the First World War, which led to the search for a substitute quality in culture and music of the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938). The main results of this searching were miscellaneous versions of conception of "new man/world" and effort to return to rudimentary religiousness and humaneness. Semio-pragmatic analysis focuses on three compositions which represent those tendencies. Schoenbergian string quartet The Relay (Štafeta, 1927) written by Leoš Janáček's pupil Vilém Petrželka (1889–1967) is one of the fundamental works of Czech interwar music. Its structure contains intensive and extensive semantic impulse. The intensive one relates to structural regularization by the "running model". The extensive one refers to Public Relay Races – carnival feasts of recycling of the collective national body. Petrželka's Nicholas the Mariner (Námořník Mikuláš, 1929) and The Guardian of the Lighthouse (Strážce majáku, 1933) written by Boleslav Vomáčka (1887–1965) are both cantatas based on the same poem. Their musical narrative strongly influenced by the avant-garde tendency of "civilism" tends toward a quasi-religious conclusion.
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