A unique publication of 75 years of the Prague Spring Festival
The history of the festival from its beginning to the last two “covid years” 2020 and 2021 is traced in a new book called 75 years of the Prague Spring by editor Svatava Barančicová. In the most detailed way, as a certain follow-up to Antonín Matzner’s previous publication 60 Prague Springs, the collective of authors focuses on the last 15 years of the festival, which they describe in a chronicling style. “But we went even deeper into history. In the Prespring chapter, we already trace the first seeds of May festivals in the 19th century,” says Barančicová.
The authors examine the Prague Spring from different angles: what novelties and world premieres the festival brought, how it was influenced by social changes and how the graphic form of posters and publications revolutionized. And then there are important personalities, vivid memories, interviews and stories, testimonies of witnesses. The first post-war years of the festival captured through the eyes of students at the time, today’s well-known composers Sluka, Klusák, and Šesták, as well as the returns of Kubelík and Firkušný to their homeland, as they themselves experienced them according to family and media accounts. “According to the original plans, the book was to be published in 2021, the 75th anniversary of the founding of the festival,” festival director Pavel Trojan describes the fate of the publication. But Covid changed the plans. “However, thanks to the postponement of the publication date, we managed to discover and incorporate into the book a unique collection of photographs by one of the most important Czech photographers of the 20th century, Václav Chochola, who was a great lover of classical music. His archive includes thousands of remarkable photographs from several decades of the Prague Spring. This discovery significantly influenced the visual appearance of the book. I am proud that the engaging texts of leading Czech music columnists are enhanced by Chochol’s photographs,” says Pavel Trojan.
Authors Jindřich Bálek, Svatava Barančicová, Aleš Březina, Věroslav Němec, Kateřina Přidalová, Jiří Slabihoudek, Jitka Slavíková and Vlasta Reitterová contributed to the eleven chapters. The visual design of the book is the work of the Toman Design studio and the graphic artist Kateřina Orlíková. The narrative publication of almost five hundred pages is on sale here and at all this year’s festival concerts in Rudolfinum and the Municipal House. The price of the publication is 990 CZK, in the case of online ordering, postage and packaging to addresses in the Czech Republic is 99 CZK.