Advent Concert III • Carols and Christmas songs arranged by Jaroslav Krček

Subscription series AK | Duration of the programme 1 hour 10 minutes | Czech Philharmonic chamber ensembles


Carols and Christmas songs arranged by Jaroslav Krček


Czech Philharmonic Quartet
Leoš Čepický violin I
Viktor Mazáček violin II
Jiří Poslední viola
Jakub Dvořák cello

Musica Bohemica
Jaroslav Krček artistic director and conductor

Photo illustrating the event Advent Concert III • Carols and Christmas songs arranged by Jaroslav Krček

Rudolfinum — Suk Hall

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Czech Philharmonic Quartet  

Czech Philharmonic Quartet

Musica Bohemica  

Jaroslav Krček  author

Jaroslav Krček

Between 1954 and 1959, Krček studied violoncello under Václav Beran at the Teaching Department of Bohuslav Jeremiáš Music School in České Budějovice, and was subsequently accepted to the third year of study at the Prague Conservatory, where in the years 1959–1962 he studied composition under Miloslav Kabeláč and conducting under Bohumír Liška. While still a student, Krček collaborated with Josef Vycpálek’s Song and Dance Ensemble; in 1962 he began to work as a music director, first at Czechoslovak Radio in Pilsen, later at the recording company Supraphon (1967–1975). From the beginning of the 1960s he conducted the Czechoslovak Radio Chamber Orchestra in Pilsen, was a choirmaster of the “Czech Song” mixed choir and also collaborated with the folk ensemble “Smile” from Horní Bříza. His intense interest in Czech musical folklore, semi-folk music and Czech compositions from the past times inspired him to form two ensembles: Chorea Bohemia (founded in 1967, working with them until 1987) and Musica Bohemica (1975), in which he is still actively involved as the conductor and artistic leader. He is also an experienced singer and player of many musical instruments, some of which he also produces for the needs of his ensemble.

Since his studies, Krček has been interested in folklore and anonymous musical works of Czech provenience. His arrangements and adaptations of folk music have a distinctive style and differ significantly from simple arrangements by their high degree of stylization. All of these activities aim to awaken the audience’s affection for folk and early music. Krček achieves this aim by being spontaneous – he presents an artistically refined expression to the audience that can withstand the highest critical standards. Together with his interest in historical folklore there is also a second line of his work, namely his own symphonies and chamber and vocal compositions. He is strongly opinionated in this sphere, not succumbing to fashion trends – as a composer, throughout his life he has striven for music which makes life nicer, brings satisfaction, uplifts one’s spirit and above all engages the audience.

In addition to arranging several hundred folksongs and folk dances, Krček has composed music of various genres. His most important works are nine symphonies (Symphony No. 3 “Jan Amos Comenius”, Op. 95, 1990; Symphony No. 4 “Desiderata”, Op. 123, 2000; Symphony No. 5 “Renaissance”, Op. 133, 2007; Symphony No. 6 “Semplice”, Op. 140, 2011; Symphony No. 9, Op. 163, 2018), of which Symphony No. 3 “Jan Amos Comenius” was performed and recorded also by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra together with Kühn’s Mixed Choir under the direction of Jiří Bělohlávek; cantatas and oratorios (O lux mundi, 1985; The One Who Is, Op. 137, 2009; The Credo of Master Jan Hus, Op. 150, 2014); melodramas, ballets and dance frescoes; operas (Rahab the Harlot, Op. 36, 1971; In the Shadow of the Cross, Op. 129, 2005; A Dress the World Has Not Seen, Op. 139, 2010; Beyond the Curtain of Time, Op. 146, 2013); and religious music (11 masses). His electroacoustic opera Rahab the Harlot won a prize in the International Composers’ Competition of the City of Geneva in 1971; several times he placed first in the competition for the international Prix de musique folklorique du Radio Bratislava. (1979–1989). His conducting activity is similarly extensive; he has released more than 50 recordings ranging from early music through his own compositions to folklore music. Krček is also a sought-after music director.

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, Jaroslav Krček has established himself not only among professional orchestras and ensembles, but he has also made a significant contribution to the development of amateur music-making in the Czech Republic. Many of his folk song arrangements enjoy great popularity among school ensembles and lay musicians of all ages; thanks to Krček’s efforts, they are aware of the music of earlier periods. Krček’s systematic work with Chorea Bohemica and Musica Bohemica has had a major influence on the work with children and youth in the Czech Republic. Hundreds of educational concerts and performances inspired choirs and instrumental ensembles to perform early music from the old times, Krček’s interpretation significantly contributed to a new understanding of folk and early music among ensembles and the public. In 2019, he received the Ministry of Culture Award for this activity.