Anniversary of the Foundation of the Charles´ University

7. 4. 2016 - 2:00 PM

The Great Auditorium of Carolinum, Ovocný trh, Prague 1


Charles University Choir in Prague was invited to provide musical accompaniment of the ceremony to mark the 668th anniversary of the foundation of the Charles´ University to be held in Prague’s Carolinum. Among other things, the Choir will perform the Czech national anthem and Gaudeamus igitur, a students´ anthem.


National Anthem of the Czech Republic
Gaudeamus igitur

Songs of Czech Utraquists – a series of chants from the 15th century (arranged by Miroslav Venhoda)
Jiří Teml (*1935): Te Deum laudamus

Performed by:

Charles University Choir
Jan Kalfus – Organ

Conducted by Josef Kurfiřt


Songs of Czech Utraquists
Utraquism is a church faction of the late 14th and especially the 15th century. It maintained that the Eucharist should be administered “in both kinds” (sub utraque specie) as both bread and wine to the entire congregation, including the laity.
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, was a great supporter of religious institutions because only they provide subsistence to the ever-growing number of scholars who not only adorned his court but also played an indispensable role in the administration of the empire and the lands owned by the Czech crown. Yet he realized the danger of the secularization of the church which his policy could entail. In 1363, he personally invited the Konrad, an Augustinian monk from the Austrian monastery in Waldhausen, (1326-1369), to preach in Bohemia. From the Emperor, Konrad received the All Saints parish in Litomerice. However, in the very same year, he moved to Prague, where he preached in the St. Havel Church. He spoke against avarice and pride of the Praguers and his German and Latin sermons became very popular and were even attended by the Jews. Since 1365, he was a parish administrator at the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, who was the main Prague Utraquist church and he is also buried there.
The principles of Utraquism have first been formulated by Jacob of Mies (1375-1429) in his work named Salvator noster. After the approval of the Compactata (four Prague articles) at the Council of Basel, they created a partially independent church within the scope of the Catholic Church headed by Archbishop John of Rokycany (1396-1471). In the course of the 16th century, a part of the Utraquists merged with the Unity of the Brethren and Old Utraquists were gradually incorporated within the Catholic Church (in particular after 1587, when Utraquist administrator Václav Benešovský agreed that Catholic priests could serve in Utraquist parishes). New Utraquists created their own church organization headed by the administrator, the Consistory and the Prague University as its ideological centre.
The Songs of Czech Utraquists cycle is a combination of Gothic and early Renaissance choral chants with later polyphony written by Jan Trojan Turnovský (1550-1606). The author of the cycle is Professor Miroslav Venhoda who used to perform the cycle with his ensemble The Prague Madrigal Singers in the 1970s literally all over the world.

Jiří Teml: Te Deum laudamus
The Latin hymn “Te Deum laudamus“ is one of the texts that has been set to music most frequently. According to the tradition, it has been written by St. Ambrose and St. Augustine on the occasion of Augustine’s baptism. He received this sacrament from Ambrose in Milan in 387. Some modern-day scholars doubt this fact and they attribute authorship to Serbian Bishop Nicetas. Other researchers, however, believe that the hymn is a result of two older hymns merging together, one to praise God the Father and the other one God the Son.
The work by composer Jiří Teml (*1935) for a mixed choir a capella to be performed at the concert dates back to 2012 and it was premiered by the Charles University Choir last year on the occasion of the composer’s anniversary.