Prague team


The Prague team’s focus is Bohemia.

Lenka Hlávková examines polyphony composed in the 14th and early 15th centuries, which as an ‘archaic’ practice remained an integral element in Utraquist liturgical books up to 1600. Copied alongside the compositions of leading European composers (Josquin, Isaac, Agricola etc.) or local pieces composed in the style of Franco-Flemish polyphony, this music of the past raises questions about the functions and meanings of such old material in the spiritual, intellectual and social life of late medieval society in Bohemian regions.

In cooperation with David Eben, the leading chant specialist active today in the Czech Republic, the roots of the Utraquist liturgical traditions and their relationship to liturgical reform in 14th-century Prague will be explored. Around the mid-14th century, Prague archbishop Ernestus of Pardubice implemented a chant reform intended to purge the liturgical repertory of the diocese from contaminating ‘modern’ influences.

At the same time, new feasts were introduced (e.g., the Visitation) for which new chants were needed. The chant repertory created for these occasions consciously draws on traditional models of liturgical music.

It therefore provides an ideal point of departure for studying compositional and/or creative strategies designed to evoke or appropriate the past within the late medieval liturgical context, offering direct points of contact with research questions posed by the Utrecht team concerning the ‘devotio moderna’.

Jan Ciglbauer focuses on newly composed monophonic compositions (‘cantio’, ‘Leich’) derived from older models and associated with Central European universities, monasteries and Latin schools. It is still not fully understood why in the time around 1400 a large corpus of new monophonic compositions was written in Bohemia by local authors who drew inspiration not only from plainchant, but also from the 13th-century Parisian conductus (by then very much ‘music of the past’).

Since Paris University was a prominent model for Prague University in its early years, a thorough analysis of music and its social context should reveal how far the musical culture of 13th-century Paris remained present in the devotional monophonic practice of Prague intellectuals some 100-200 years later.

This cluster of research topics invites co-operation with both the Cambridge team (13th-century Paris) and the Utrecht team, not least to explore further the recently uncovered links between devotional repertories of the Low Countries and their possible Central European precursors.

Team members

Jan Ciglbauer

jan_ciglbauer_200x200Jan Ciglbauer studied musicology at Charles University in Prague and Freie Universität Berlin. He graduated from Prague in 2009 with a master’s thesis on an almost unknown collection of Latin songs in the codex Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 30.9.2 Aug. 4° and the relationship of that codex to the Czech lands.

He continues to explore the tradition and social function of Central European Latin songs during the 14th and 15th centuries. He is also preparing an edition of songs which present a link between late medieval chant and mensural sacred songs.

Besides his formal research engagement at the Charles University, he works occasionally as:

  • a language teacher
  • photographer
  • music journalist specializing on improvised and electronic music

david_eben_800x800David Eben

David Eben was born in Prague in 1965. After graduation from clarinet studies at Prague’s conservatory, he took up musicology at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. Already during his studies, he specialized in medieval music, mainly in Gregorian chant.

In 1991 he graduated from Paris conservatory (Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique de Paris) the program Conducting of Gregorian chant, and in the following year he worked as a conductor of the ensemble Choeur gregorien de Paris. Then he also often visited the Solesmes monastery, a centre of research in Gregorian chant, with the view of studying and consulting.

Besides his scholarly work, David Eben is concentrating on the interpretation of Gregorian chant. In 1987 he founded the → vocal ensemble Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, which has been intensively recording and giving concerts in almost all European countries, Japan and Israel. The CDs of the ensemble have received a number of awards:

  • Choc du Monde de la Musique
  • 10 de Repertoire
  • “Zlata Harmonie” – Golden Harmony Award for the best Czech recording of the year

Since 1993 he works at the Institute of Musicology of Charles University where he lectures on topics related to Gregorian chant and liturgy. From 2008 to 2013 he worked as professor of Gregorian chant at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland).

He regularly tutors in summer courses on theory and practice of Gregorian chant in France, Switzerland and Belgium. On a long term basis he has been co-operating with the Czech Radio in creating programs on Gregorian chant (55-part cycle “Liturgical Year in Gregorian Chant”).

→ Read a list of selected publications and CD’s he recorded (PDF)

lenka_hlavkova_800x800Lenka Hlávková

Lenka Hlávková (née Mráčková) is senior lecturer in music history before 1600, music paleography and philology
at the Institute of Musicology, Charles University in Prague. She studied musicology with Jaromír Černý there (M.A. 1998, Ph.D. 2004) and she spent one semester each as exchange student at the universities in Cork (1994) and Utrecht (1995).

In 1999 she was awarded the DAAD Scholarship for PhD Students to study at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin (1999-2000) and in 2004 the DAAD fellowship for research in German libraries. In 2007 she was invited by Technische Universität in Dresden as a guest lecturer in music history before 1600. She was also director of the Institute of Musicology (2012-2015).

Lenka Hlávková has published several studies on the 15th music in Bohemia and Central Europe with special focus on sources of polyphony (Strahov Codex, Speciálník Codex). She has been (co-)organizing international conferences on early music:

  • 2006 Musical Culture of the Czech Lands and Central Europe before 1620
  • 2009 The Musical Heritage of the Jagiellonian Era
  • 2011 The Musical Culture of Silesia before 1742
  • 2012 round table Central European Identities in the Fifteenth Century. Jaromír Černý (1939-2012) in memoriam – within 19th IMS Congress
  • 2016 Charles IV and the Musical Legacy of his Era
  • 2017 Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference

Her research projects are:

  • 2007-2009 – The Strahov Codex and the musical culture of the Czech Lands during the reign of Georg of Podiebrad, research project funded by the Czech Scientific Foundation
  • 2010-2011 – The Musical Culture of Silesia before 1742 from Polish and Czech Perspectives, Polish-Czech research project KONTAKT funded by Czech Ministery of Education
  • 2015-2017 – Changing Identities in the Music of Central Europe in the late Middle-Ages, research project funded by the Czech Scientific Foundation

She also co-edited volumes of musicological studies (see below).
→ Read Hlávková’s list of publications (PDF)

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