VÁCLAV KAREL HOLAN ROVENSKÝ: TIME AS VOICE
from the hymnal Capella regia musicalis (1693/94)
released 7/2004 by Arta Records
RITORNELLO directed by Michael Pospíšil
Hollan’s Hymnal was so large that it escaped the attention of both the people and the authorities that kept an eye on culture. As a hymnal, Capella regia musicalis is unique in the world, for several important reasons. Its relatively large format (A4) was rarely used anywhere. (Another example is Jan Jozeff Božan’s Slavíček rajský [Nightingale of Paradise, 1719], which was inspired by the Capella). It was so big that it required a music stand. It was not, however, meant only to remain standing in the church as a counterpart to the liturgical books on the altar; it was intended for use in processions, schools, at table in peoples’ homes, and at the bedside (for morning, evening, and wedding songs). Some of the songs seem to have come running in from a small grove, park, garden, or field-path, or, conversely, running back to them. It contains songs for a small Bohemian Ordinary, next to evensongs, songs for the congregation, solo ‘arias’ for professionals – the acolytes. Some of the songs allow the accompanying organist to ‘shine’; others have been furnished much less modestly with parts not just for the organ but for other instruments as well: violin, viola, clarino, and trombone. No other nation in the world can boast such an accomplishment.