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You are here: Home About us Cultural events Exhibitions Exhibit of the Month - June 2023

Exhibit of the Month - June 2023

June 14 - August 31, 2023 Ante-room to the General reading Room (gate A), open Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm (see opening hours of the NL)
Admission 20 CZK (free for the NL readers)

Ladislav Vycpálek: Blahoslavený ten člověk… [Blessed is the Man…]
Cantata for choirs, solos and orchestra, Op. 23, on the words from the Book of Psalms
Autographs – continuous music sketch, sketches of text (1932)
NKP, shelfmark 59 R 2012, 59 R 2012a

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Music Department of the National Library of the Czech Republic we present autographs by its founder, composer Ladislav Vycpálek (1882–1969).

Apart from the personality of Ladislav Vycpálek, it is the time of the birth that connects the Music Department with the displayed composition. After the end of World War I, Vycpálek first came up with the idea to celebrate the Czechoslovak foreign resistance and its leader T. G. Masaryk with a large cantata on the words from the Book of Psalms. He succeeded in realizing his intention about a decade later, in 1931-1933, when he adapted and rearranged the texts of the Psalms of the Bible of Kralice, and composed the cantata Blessed is the Man…, a large work for choirs, solo voices and orchestra in seven movements – out of them four for choirs, interspersed with three movements for baritone solo. The cantata in question together with his other cantatas – Cantata on the Last Things of Man (1922) and Czech Requiem (1940) – represent the pinnacle of his work and rank Vycpálek among the greatest Czech composers of monumental vocal and instrumental compositions of the 20th century.

The exhibited music sketch of the cantata, NKP, shelfmark 59 R 2012, is a fulfilled dream for a music scholar and historian, who often searches in vain for traces of the birth of music works. It is a continuous sketch with indicated instrumentation, in which the composer later added other orchestral voices to the vacant space as well as multi-bar notes. However, the work provides even more than an insight into the composer´s composition practice (enhanced, if we take into account the elaborated autograph score and other preserved autograph and printed sources).  It is the last page of the score, on which Vycpálek recorded in detail many events concerning the creation and first performances of the composition. There is, for instance, a clipping from the Lidové noviny newspaper of 15 November 1932 (published in Brno), pasted in by the composer, which reports on the completion of the sketch – apparently the exhibited document. The manuscript note in he middle of the page also refers to this sketch: „Played for the first time to friends on 13. XI. 1932 […]“. At that time, the composition had not been instrumented yet, and was performed in a small cast apparently from the exhibited sheet music.

The music sketch is complemented with transcriptions of texts or their parts, selected from the Book of Psalms, mostly in the wording of the Bible of Kralice. Transcriptions stand on the same shelfmark. Vycpálek adapted and rearranged the texts to suit the intended cantata before he started with composition.

Jun 27, 2023
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