Editor's Word - Dollars and Music

1-2 2007 Aktuality English
obálka čísla

Dear readers, First of all I shall take care of things not so pleasant but necessary. This year the Czech Dialogue will come out, as a twomonth issue and the cost in USA will go up from $40 to $50. The reason for that is, the decline of the American dollar and the rising value of the Czech crown. For me it means that when I visit US, I'll be able to buy for my 200 Czech crowns, a whole bag of groceries in your supermarket. That may be a very exciting thing, except that I don't travel to US all that often.

Our printer's is upset with us because we owe them money and they don't seem to care for the explanation that our current subscriptions cannot cover the costs. They agree with me that a double issue would come out cheaper. As far as I am concerned, it should be a great relief at my age, having reached retirement, to have the extra month for other activities, my family and simply, just for myself. I have been publishing the magazine, working as a volunteer, for 17 years and I do feel I deserve some time off.

Now let's talk about music. You may know from previous articles that my original profession was music publicist. I finished my studies at the Conservatory of Music and often performed as a singer. All that ended after November 17, 1989, when I became caught in the snares of politics and the unbelievable events of that time. I was extremely excited and I had to be right there. Today, I deliberately want to avoid politics. To start the New Year 2007 in a positive mood, I would like this article to be full of music and good things.

Since 1989 I have not been professionally active in music; however, I still love it and it plays an important role in my daily life. It no longer matters to me who's singing or playing and what, or how it was composed, but I play music all day long. Whenever I travel abroad, I buy a new CD and then back at home I play it and think of the country it came from. On top of that, I gather amusing experiences.

In the early 90s I was with a group of journalists from post-communist countries in Greece, where I experienced a great musical evening. We were invited there by western feminists who felt it important to teach us how democracy works, so they had organized the trip. It started about one hour after midnight at an outdoor podium. As guests, we were seated in the first row. At first we thought, "Why are they punishing us?" Noise and loud big beat and into it the shrill singing of girls and boys dressed in attractive costumes and jumping around the podium.

But! After a while we got to like it! And an hour later, we were all up there on the podium singing and dancing with the rest. We were all under a spell.

So the next day I hurried to town and bought a double cassette with Greek songs and music and I must admit, that it hasn't bored me yet. You can hear a bit of the Orient in it besides other things, but it is genuine.

I had worse luck in New York In the biggest music store on 5th avenue, I bought a CD by Charlie Pride, who to my knowledge is or was the only country singer who is black. Unfortunately, it was a bore. Then in Brighton, where I was staying, and which is mainly inhabited by Jews and Russians, I got inside the only CD shop there. "Oh well, since I can't get anything American, I'll buy something Russian" I said to myself.

I asked for some Russian folk songs. "Da, Al Pugacev" said the salesman. "No, I don't want Al. That's Pop, not folklore", said I. He finally offered me an Alexander Rozembaum CD, which has nothing to do with folk music, but it sure is a nice CD that I often play.

From South America I'd brought back some wonderfully schmaltzy music that I play whenever I need to lift my spirits. Listening to it, I think of how the poor people live there; at every intersection children try to sell fruit, flowers, bakery goods, and much else. All day long they breathe in the exhaust fumes just to bring home a few coins. In spite of all that, their music sounds so sweet.

In my collection I also have the unique CD "The Best of Destinn", Symphony no. 9 "From the New World" by Antonin Dvorak and many others.

Sometime in the future I may tell you more about them but today I just want to wish you a very Happy New Year!

Eva Střížovská


Beginning with this issue of the Czech Dialogue you will be reading more often about a great personality of Czech musicnamely ofthe composer Bohuslav Martinu.

This important Czech exile made his homeland famous all over the world. The anniversary of his death is approaching (in 2009) and many institutions and associations are preparing many activiteis to commemorate this important occasion. The Czech Dialogue must also take part in this endeavor. Therefore, in ccoperation with the Prague Institute of Bohuslav Martinu, we prepared for you some interesting readings. For the first time this year please read on p. 20-21.

Translated by Paula Schultz

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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