CHURCH SONGS FROM ZNOROVY
Rescheduled program of the festival Janáček Brno 2020
The Red Church (Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren of Jan Amos Comenius)
Church songs from Znorovy (a premiere of a folk concert programme for the festival), Magdalena Múčková and the Danaj dulcimer band
An integral part of Janáček´s interests was the support and collection of songs that I call sacred, popular or folk spiritual. Janáček chose to collaborate with (among other people) Hynek Bím in his research into folk songs. Bím’s task was to map western Moravia, and it was Bím who got hold of a collection of old church songs during his repeated collections in the village of Vnorovy. He paid a lot of attention to them despite the fact that they were only a small part of the total number of songs he recorded (as evidenced by the sixteen letters of correspondence between him and Janáček in which he deals with this topic). After all, it was in Vnorovy that Janáček found refuge with his uncle Jan Janáček (who worked as a pastor there from 1870-1878) after his father’s untimely death in 1866. He probably got to know the local spiritual songs in person, as he played the organ at the Vnorovy church gallery during his time there.
The focus of the songs is directly linked to the church year. Some of them can be found in the hymn book Slavíček rájský by Jan Josef Božan from 1719, which was the basic comparative material still used at the Vnorovy parish church services at the time of collection in 1911. Bím wrote down (and partially also recorded on a phonograph) songs for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and the celebration of the saints, as well as songs whose content is related to events in Christian life.
The programme “Church songs from Vnorovy” will, at least partially, reveal this still undiscovered pearl of folk music culture which until now has remained off the radar for folk music lovers. The selection of songs will allow us to look back one hundred years at a repertoire deeply rooted in the musical and pious environment of this village in the Slovácko region. A more intimate environment would be suitable for the programme, preferably a religious one. Selected singing soloists, as well as choirs from Vnorovy and its surroundings, perform with an organ, chamber instrument or a capella accompaniment. It might be worth considering making a recording of this exceptional occasion…