Pavel Vejvanovský (1633/39-1694)

Vejvanovský is a hugely important figure in the history of Czech music, not only as a trumpet virtuoso and composer of mixed success, but because he helped to copy and maintain the music library of the prince-bishop of Olomouc, Karl Liechtenstein-Castelcorno (today preserved at the bishop’s residence at Kromeríž). This collection remains one of the most important single surviving collections of seventeenth-century music. Vejvanovský was probably born in Hukvaldý or Hlucin in Moravia and was educated at the Jesuit college at Opava (also in Moravia). His trumpeting talents were apparent even before his appointment (1664?) to the influential Liechtenstein-Castelcorno. The exact date of his court appointment is unknown, but the court took interest is his training even before he was employed at court. Vejvanovský was certainly employed by 1665 at the latest, though the Bishop’s administrator had paid for him to study for a time in Vienna.


Vej 1

Salve Regina

Motet

Edited by Robert Rawson

for bass (G-d'), 2 violins, 3 viols and organ continuo

Price: £ 7.90

Many of Vejvanovský’s earliest compositions – which date from his student days – reveal a provincial composer struggling with the new idioms of modern music. Musical development in the Czech lands had been at a near standstill during the horrors of the Thirty Years War and the pieces that emerge in wake of that terrible conflict reflect the trends of the early 1600s. Nevertheless, he was also able to combine the idioms of Czech music with the Italian style which dominated musical life in Vienna – the main cultural influence on courtly life in Moravia. The most obvious of these early traits is the heavy reliance on alternatim textures, which had been abandoned by most Italian composers by the time of this setting of the Salve Regina. Although stylistically out of date, it is no reason to condemn the piece. Vejvanovský reveals that he posseses a fine melodic and inventive talent. Another typically Czech characteristic in the work is paucity of much genuine imitative counterpoint. Instead the variety comes from the changing textures inherited from the alternatim praxis and the string interludes with attractive dance-like patterns. The piece shows a typical lack of independence in the voices and a propensity for melodic writing dominated by parallel thirds. This technique (so typical of Czech music at the time) combines a strong and unified rhythmic texture with a melodic sweetness of the triadic melody.

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