A radio program of the French Center of Jewish Music, hosted by Hervé Roten
MUSIQUES JUIVES D’HIER ET D’AUJOURD’HUI – December 20, 2011, JUDAIQUE FM, 21h05
Surrounded by Poland, Germany and Slovakia, Czech Republic is a country of central Europe that lived many vicissitudes during its history. Yet, for almost 1000 years, Jewish life was flourishing in Bohemia’s capital city, Prague!
We often forget that Prague was one of the towns with the biggest number of synagogues in Europe: the alt-neue synagogue, Pinkas and Klaus, and also the Spanish synagogue and the Maisel synagogue.
Musical life was intense there : an organ was already present in the Maisel synagogue at the end of the 16th century and it was played every Friday night for the welcoming of the Shabbat.
In Prague and Brno (Moravia), as in Germany, chorals were frequently in usage in the reformed cult.
And then there was the invasion of Czechia by the nazis, Terezin, the liberation, the iron curtain and finally the velvet revolution of Vaclav Havel…
Since around 20 years, Jewish musical life comes progressively back in Czech Republic.
Martha Stellmacher, German musicologist who worked on the synagogal archives of the Jewish Museum of Prague, helps us discover in this program the Jewish music of Bohemia and Moravia, Jewish music of yesterday, but also of today!
Officer of the Ordre of Arts and letters, PhD in musicology at Paris University Sorbonne, prize-winning graduate from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Hervé Roten is the director of the European Institute of Jewish Music since its creation in 2006.
Ethnomusicologist, he quickly developed an interest in the safeguard and digitization of archives, subjects he taught for several years in Reims and Marne-La-Vallée universities.
Author of many articles, books and recordings related to Jewish music, producer of radio programs, Hervé Roten is recognized today as one of the best specialists of Jewish music in the world.