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Artists > Early Music
Schola Gregoriana Pragensis
Lars O. Flydal, Vart Land, Oslo, March 2003
Golden and pure colours of sound from late Middel Ages filled the archways of Gamle Aker church during the concert with Schola Gregoriana Pragensis. The theme of this year's church music festival is the music of the Middle Age and with one of the world's leading ensembles within gregorianism placed under the almost 900 years old basilica, the framework was optimal. The octet, lead by David Eben, diminished the leap in time with its tender and sober performance. This is godgiven music, which is to be performed gently, without embroidering. Both the unanimity and sound was lifted by the male voices with effortless ease and with great self-confidence…
Idar Karevold, Aftenposten, Oslo, March 2003
…Quite another dimension came through when the choir Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, lead by David Eben, son of the composer Petr Eben, performed Vesperae de beate Maria Virgine in Oslo Cathedral Monday. The Gregorian prayer was in its simpleness and with its interaction between words and music endlessly beautiful. The choir, which has done this liturgical music to its medium of expression, lifted and gave it also a glimpse of a tradition that with us belonged in a time when the main church of the town was called St. Hallvard and stood quite another place than today's Cathedral.
Ceské noviny - Tel Aviv / Praha 6. ledna 1999 (ÈTK
STORM OF APPLAUSE FOR CZECH MUSICIANS IN ISRAEL
A Czech ensemble Schola Gregoriana Pragensis met with extraordinary success and interst of the Israeli audience… After the introductory totally sold out concert a programme with the art director of the ensemble David Eben was broadcast on TV… Already before the arrival of musicians all major Israeli journals and the first channel of the television and the radio had drawn attention to their performances. At first a series of seven performances was scheduled but due to an enormous interest of the audience the tour is going to be concluded with an extraordinary concert in Jaffa. On Saturday a programme called “Bohemian Saints in Heavenly Jerusalem” will be given on Jerusalem´s Mount of Olives.
Olga Jelinkova, Denni Telegraf, Prague, September 30, 1995
MUSICAL HOMAGE TO SAINT WENCESLAS
On the feast of all Wenceslases, the 28th of September, an international festival of sacred music Saint Wenceslas Feasts ended in Prague… The promoters providently foresaw the effect of an interconnection of the festival setting and the style of music; the individual premises perfectly met the numbers of interested audience, perhaps with the only exception of the performance called Antica e Moderna given by the ensemble Schlola Gregoriana Pragensis when so many interested persons arrived at the Saint Climet´s that the whole church nave was filled up to the last seat and still a part of visitors got left outside. Gregorian Chant in the interpretation by the Schola conducted by David Eben attracts today almost magically: with its approach of soft-hand analysis and vivid interpretation, this time-honoured music sung by eight man´s voices seriously competes for favour of the young listener – besides hard commercial “sound” of pop and not mentioning the influx of trashy production of the meditative new age, all precast from one template. In the second part on the concet also a composition of David Eben´s father Petr Eben “Liturgical songs” was performed. Gregorian Chant inspiration together with melodic and rhythmical features comprehendible to contemporary music world, again performed by the Schola with the author at the organ, thrilled the audience and was justly considered one of the greatest successes of the festival…
Lucie Chvatilova, The Harmonie Magazine 8/1999
A PROBE INTO THE OLD MUSIC
A series of concerts devoted to the old music at this year´s Prague Spring Festival was dramaturgically very diverse… In concert given on Wednesday the 26th of May the church enjoyed its magnificent day. It seemed to have put itself in the right frame of mind for listening to the nine man´s voices of the Schola Gregoriana Pragensis even in advance. The ensemble´s singing resounded in the church nave as never before. Another joy of the evening was the program – premiere performance of a repertoire preserved in the only record from the beginning of the 16th century – the Codex Franus of Hradec Králové. With Davida Ebena we are used to the predominance of homophonic Gregorian chant. However, in the case of the Prague Spring Festival concert we experienced a pleasantly varied amalgam of homophonic songs, individual or combined sacred songs and often also very “modern” polyphonic compositions. Unique was not only the acoustic of the concert hall but also the atmosphere of the concert - the audience attentively listening in captivation and such a silence that a swallow of a single listener could have been heard as far as on the other side of the church and, last but not least, a storm of applause which made the singers give three encores and, on the contrary, did not allow a single listener to flee untimely to the cloakroom and home. Notwithstanding that grandiose orchestral concerts and virtuous recitals of violin stars are regarded the climaxes of the festival, the concert of the Schola Gregoriana Pragensis with its depth, proficiency of interpretation and atmosphere came across no less magnificent.
Mirek Cerny, The Harmonie Magazine 7/1997
GREGORIAN CHANT REDISCOVERED
…Though Gregorian Chant functioned for long centuries as one of the key sources of European music, it was not long ago when this very old homophonic vocal form of music seemed to be slowly dying out. However, a miracle has happened. Several years ago the Recording Company EMI launched recordings (and to make the matters worse they were 20 years old) of Spanish monks group who at one go entered history of music: “Coro de mojes del Monasterio Benedictono de Santo Dominigo de Silos.”… Young people like the medieval mysticism such as that prepared by the group Sequentia or more stylish composers such as Pärt, Gorecky and Jirasek. Gregorian chant stands not too far away and, moreover, it bears the religious function. In a small Belgian border village within a stone´s throw to France a world rarity could be found – the International Festival of Gregorian Chant. The festival is held every three years, this year was already the 6th and the participation was really splendid, not only as far as the ensembles are concerned (in this kind of music they are called the schola) but also concerning the experts. The latter met in Watou in large numbers coming from Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Bologna, Budapest or Hiroshima… Who belonged to the festival highlights? Definitely it was the Schola Gregoriana Pragensis. This relatively lesser Schola forges ahead into the community of leading groups of Gregorian chant, which is proven absolutely true with its new recording. David Eben studied in Paris at Choeur Grégorien de Paris… The Watou festival was really massively sought after not only by the performing artists but also by the audience. The festive mass was broadcast by the Eurovision into eight countries and the festival attendance amounts to 10 000. I can sincerely recommend an attendance of the festival to the favourers of Gregorian chant. The only shortcoming is they have to wait another three years.
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