Thematic Catalogue of the Music Collection of the Strachota Family from Panenský Týnec

Eliška Šedivá

Thursday, February 22, 2024

We have received the following publication announcement from Eliška Šedivá (RISM Czech Republic):

Catalogus collectionis operum musicalium ex possessione familiae Strachota in Tinez (ed. Eliška Šedivá, translation of the introduction by Andy Letham), Prague: National Library of the Czech Republic, 2023. 2 vols (713 pp.), in: Catalogus artis musicae in Bohemia et Moravia cultae. Artis musicae antiquioris catalogorum series; vol. XIII/1-2, ISBN 978-80-7050-786-5.

The music collection of the Strachota family (RISM Catalog | RISM Online) of cantors from Panenský Týnec and Vrbno nad Lesy represents a unique set of sources documenting the musical traditions of the Louny area (North Bohemia) in the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries. It is exceptional due to both its remarkable scope and the composition of its repertoire, and many of the surviving sources attest to the venerable musical education of the cantor families that were active in the Czech countryside. The collection is kept in Prague, at the Music Department of the National Library of the Czech Republic, as a closed unit of specific provenance. It consists of 515 shelfmarks for music manuscripts and 21 for printed editions, but due to the high number of composite volumes the collection in fact contains almost 800 compositions. The vast majority of the sources are manuscript copies prepared by members of the Strachota family and intended for performances during the liturgy at the Church of Saint George in Panenský Týnec between 1775 and 1850.

The majority of the collection consists of church music, with works to be performed during mass being predominant. Shorter compositions with Latin texts are also amply represented, such as graduals, offertories, hymns, antiphones and spiritual arias (the latter group also including contrafacts and pastorals set to Czech texts). As for the instrumental repertoire, an important part thereof consists of chamber and symphonic music, but the set of organ anthologies is also notable. Songs and theatrical works complement the above picture, featuring in particular select overtures or arias from contemporary operas and singspiels. Although not significant in number, some printed collections of songs with Czech texts also belong to the Strachota collection.

Josef Cyril Strachota (1746–1809), Sacrum Pastorale, CZ-Pu 59 R 3502, RISM ID no. 550500539

Works by a total of 193 composers ranging from the best-known masters of the classic era through notable Czech contemporaries to local (and in part fully unknown) cantors have been identified in the collection. Of particular interest are the compositions by Josef Cyril Strachota (1746–1809) from Panenský Týnec, arguably the musically most productive member of the Strachota family. His works testify for his outstanding compositional craft, his superior control of the musical stereotypes of the time, but are at the same time remarkable documents of his artistic self-expression. On the list of names one also encounters a number of composers known from every textbook on Czech music history, such as František Xaver Brixi (1732–1771), Franz Joseph Öhlschlägel (1724–1788), Václav Jan Kopřiva (1708–1789) and his son Karel Blažej Kopřiva (1756–1785), Jakub Jan Ryba (1765–1815), Josef Ferdinand Norbert Seger (1716–1782), Josef Mysliveček (1737–1781), Václav Pichl (1741–1805), and Jan Křtitel Vaňhal (1739–1813). Their works constitute the core of this outstanding music collection.

The publication of the catalog was made possible through support from the Long Term Conceptual Development Research Organisation (DKRVO) provided by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, and was also financially supported by the Český hudební fond.

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