Bohemia at the end of the 18th century and the early 19th was teeming with highly skilled composers and musicians, centred around the city of Prague. Charles Burney described it as ‘the conservatory of Europe’. He also found that rural areas were rich in musical activities, especially in schools.
The majority of the composers wrote for their particular instrument, and the names of Dussek and Kozeluch in particular have survived to this day. They along with Vorisek are the best known composers on this fascinating programme of songs from this golden age of Czech music.
At this time, songs by Bohemian composers were nearly always set in German or Italian. Czech was considered a peasant language, and German was of course the language of the ruling Hapsburg dynasty. Many of the songs produced by composers such as Dussek, Vorisek (and their contemporary Tomasek) show that their influence was not lost upon Schubert.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.