Adam Václav Michna z Otradovic
Adam Václav Michna z Otradovic
Adam Michna z Otradovic
Background information Birth name Adam Václav Michna z Otradovic Also known as Adamus Wenceslaus de Ottradowicz Origin Czech Genres Baroque Occupations Composer, instrumentalist, chorus master, poet, songwriter Instruments organist
Adam Václav Michna z Otradovic – literally Adam Václav Michna from Otradovice – (c. 1600 Jindřichův Hradec – 1676, Jindřichův Hradec) was a Czech catholic aristocrat, poet, composer, hymn writer, organist and choir leader of early Baroque era. His is also known in simplified form as Adam Michna and during his life as Adamus Wenceslaus Michna de Ottradowicz. He was the most important Czech composer and poet of early Baroque, that initiated the development of Czech art in that era and became signifiant inspiration for Czech artists of next generations.
Michna descended from a noble and musical family Michna Ottradovic in Jindřichův Hradec in South Bohemia (his title was the Knight). His father was organist and trumpeter Michael Michna (many of his other relatives were also trumpeters). In the twenties of the 17th century was restored the literary fraternity in the town by the highest Lord Chancellor of Kingdom of Bohemia Vilém Slavata and that act, together with activity of the Jesuit College, founded in 1594, contributed a lot to the development of cultural life in the town. Adam Michna became the first student at the Jesuit College, where he studied in years 1611–1612 and 1615–1617 at the gymnasium. The Order of Jesuits was in 17th and 18th century a great influence on the musical life in the Czech lands,. Many of Michna compositions were later printed and published by Prague Jesuits.
Not too much is known about his later life. He became a member of the Literary Society and the organist and choir director in 1633 at the probost church in Jindřichův Hradec. He helped to improve the musical life in the town, was a respected and wealthy citizen of Jindřichův Hradec and also the owner of the tap. He was twice married, but there is not any report about children. In 1673, he established the Foundation for the education of needy young musicians.
Adam Michna was prolific, but not all of his works were preserved and known today. They are 230 of his compositions from three Czech and two Latin collections. The majority of his creative effort was dedicated to sacred music. The best known are his three hymn cycles, Česká mariánská muzika (Czech Marian music), Loutna česká (Czech Lute) and Svatoroční muzika (Holy year music).
He composed vocal as well as vocal-instrumental music, with his own lyrics. He wrote many Czech sacred songs; some are still well known and popular, such as the carol „Vánoční noc“ (Christmas Night), better known as Chtíc, aby spal, that is ordinarily sung today during Christmas in Czechia. It is possible that Michna was familiar with early Italian baroque compositional techniques.
The musical work of Adam Michna can be divided in two parts:
Sacred music (on liturgical texts, in Latin), melodically rich, with polyphonic sound, in particular using brass instruments (trumpets, trombones), strings and organ. Vocal parts are based on the timbre contrast between solo vocals and choir.
- Obsequinum Marianum (1642)
- Officium vespertinum, Psalmi (1648)
- Magnificant I. toni (1654) –
- Sacra et litaniae – it content 5 masses, 2 litanies, Te Deum, Requiem
- Missa Sancti Wenceslai
Songs and hymns (homophonic songs on his own texts in Czech – musically arranged poems)
- Česká mariánská muzyka (1647)
- Loutna česká (1653)
- Svatoroční muzyka (1661)
- particular pieces
Michna's poetry is based on emphasizing the use of sound words, rhymes and rich metaphorical phrase. His verbal pictures are very vivid and aim to influence the senses. The favourite themes can be described as inner fight of good and evil in man, moving from lovely images of paradise to terrible torments of hell, but with specific noble, philosophical insight (however he sometimes used also colloquial language) , somewhere enriched by the decent humour, arising from critical view of human society. To his other main themes belongs the immaginative painting of the nature. He was the first Czech poet, that created some phenomenon of spiritual-romantic poetry.
- The list of poems is practically identical to the collections of songs
...Michna's genius is in his brilliant rhythmic structures. His work is characterized by a subtle and complex blend of rhythmic variations, rhythmic patterns often changing from three-four time to two-four time within a single piece. This command of rhythm and breadth of musical colour equals that of his Italian contemporaries. Michna is as important for Czechs as Heinrich Schütz for Germans and Claudio Monteverdi for Italians...
- Sacra Et Litaniae à 5, 6, 7 & 8 Vocum Cum Instrumentis – Václav Smetáček, Josef Veselka, Symphonisches Orchester Des Rundfunks von Bratislava, Moravan, Schwann, 1966
- Missa à 7, Cantiones, Requiem – Capella Regia Musicalis, Robert Hugo; Studio Matouš, 1992, Grammy Classic Award in 1993
- Missa Sancti Wenceslai, Svatoroční Muzika – Capella Regia Musicalis, Robert Hugo; Popron Music, 1994
- Officium Vespertinum Capella Regia Musicalis, Robert Hugo; Arta Records, 2001
- The Czech Lute (Loutna česká) – Prague Chamber Choir, Musica Bohemica, Jaroslav Krček; Supraphon, 2002. Musica Pro Sancta Cecilia, 2008
• Essential part of his scores, published by Editio Bärenreiter in Prague (former Editio Supraphon)
• Compendium of poetry „Nebeští kavalérové“ (The Heaven s Knights) with 172 poems by Adam Michna, published by BB Art in 2003 
- ^ http://michna-slavnosti.webnode.cz/adam-michna-z-ottradovic Adama Michna festival in Jindřichův Hradec
- ^ Vysloužil, p. 339
- ^ http://www.matous.cz/detail.php?id=MK%200001&jazyk=en
- ^ http://www.cdcentrum.cz/objects/1075213013.html?action=doporucit&time=1301441487
- ^ http://www.kosmas.cz/knihy/118231/nebesti-kavalerove A.Michna: The compendium of poems
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