Music

The story of music in Slovakia is the story of a small territory in the heart of Europe in which for centuries saw intense communication and mutual influence between diverse cultures.

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St Egidius Parish Church, Bardejov

Situated in the historic centre of Bardejov, St Egidius Parish Church was built in the 14th-15th centuries and is is one of the finest examples of Late Gothic architecture in Eastern Slovakia. It is listed as a National Cultural Monument.
Work on the church began in the northern side of a large marketplace square, at a time when the free royal town of Bardejov had already been fortified. After an earlier accident with the older structure, the experienced King’s builder Master Štefan of Košice erected over the central nave an advanced netted vault. A remarkable stone Gothic pastoforium also originated in his workshop in 1465. Master Urban then continued the construction of the chapels while Franklin Stemasek erected the tower. The unique mobiliary of the church dates from the late 15th century. A set of 11 wing altars comprises its most noteworthy component.

Heritage > National cultural monuments

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Saint Jacob’s Church, Levoča

The three-nave parish hall church originated during the 14th century. The Chapel of St. George was annexed to its northern part landed in 1392. Atria were annexed in the late 15th century to the north portal and to the south portal in the late 14th century. In the same period the original pillars of the group support were reinforced with Corinthian capitals. In the course of the next century the richly decorated late-Gothic south and the north entrances were annexed, while the original western entrance was impaired. A library was built in the years 1515 – 1520 over the northern atrium and the side chapel of St. George. Its rectangular windows belonged to one of the first Renaissance buildings in the town. From the rich interior furnishings, along with two unique late-Gothic altars by a carver operating in Levoča in the early 16th century, Master Paul deserves credit for the Vir Dolorum altar, the baptismal font and the tabernacle from the old-furnished temple. The murals with cycles from the 14th to 15th century are a rare example of a period display of doctrine. After a fire in the first half of the 19th century a Neo-Gothic tower was built in the western part of the church. In the church the architecture and interior furnishings comprise a unique collection of art-historical and architectural monuments mainly from the 15th to 17th centuries.

Heritage > National cultural monuments

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First Slovak Secondary Schools

Modest in architectural expression, the one-storey buildings of the patronage gymnasiums (secondary schools for students preparing to enter a university) bear testimony to the resilient efforts made to raise the education level of the Slovak people. Their foundation followed the call to use the Slovak language in schools, a demand included in the Memorandum of the Slovak Nation of June 1861. The schools were set up thanks to the initiative of the Memorandum of Š M Daxner. He found support first in Revúca, where, in 1862, the Evangelical church self-administration certified the foundation of the first Slovak gymnasium. In the Martin-based patronage gymnasium teaching commenced on 1 September 1867. The third gymnasium at Kláštor pod Znievom, under the patronage of the Catholic church, was launched in 1869. After a brief but intense period of being operational they were closed for being unpatriotic by the government in 1874-1875.

First Slovak Secondary School, Revúca
First Slovak Secondary School, Martin
First Slovak Secondary School, Kláštor pod Znievom

Heritage > National cultural monuments

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Great Moravian Court at Ducové, Moravany nad Váhom

People have used this strategically favourable position ever since the Neolithic period. However, its principal settlement coincides with the period of the Late Middle Ages, when a Great Moravian feudal court dating from the mid 9th-10th centuries stood here, protected by a huge palisade fortification. The internal fortification grounds, divided into three unequal parts, delineated a special space for the rotunda, with a semicircular apse surrounded by a burial ground. Although the court perished between the 11th and 12th century, burials continued around the rotunda until the 14th century. The shape of the fortification and the ground floor plans have been reconstructed on the basis of the results of archaeological research.

Heritage > National cultural monuments

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Folk house in Čičmany (photo by Peter Fratrič)

Čičmany Folk Architecture Reservation

Čičmany is a distinctive village of scenic beauty surrounded by the peaks of the Strážov Hills and the Malá Fatra Mountains in the southern part of Rajec Valley, south-west of Rajec municipality. The oldest surviving reference to the village dates from the 13th century. Inhabitants of the village, also famous for its characteristic folk embroidery, were originally involved in sheep raising and selling sheep cheese, with supplementary trade in coarse cloth slippers and shoes. Great fires suffered in the first half of the 20th century can be regarded as modern time milestones in the development of the village. After the most devastating fire in 1921, new timber structures were built to reflect the new living requirements, thanks to architect Dušan Jurkovič and under the supervision of the State Department for Protection of Monuments. The original lined log cabin-type of houses of the creek village were characteristically large family houses, often storied, with upper pantries in which sometimes as many as 30 persons lived together. A unique characteristic feature of these houses are their geometric ornamentally-decorated exteriors (Original Image). Originally women decorated only the corners with clay and later with lime, but from the 19th century onwards the entire exterior of the unplastered wooden houses began to be decorated. Although today the reserve is for most part made up of post-fire houses it offers special evidence of the long-standing efforts to preserve the values of folk architecture (Objects of folk architecture).

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TV shows and festivals: The birth of Slovak popular music show business

The hype at the birth of the “cult of the celebrities”, like in the world, took on a real form in the song contest Malá televízna hitparáda – Small Television Hit Parade (1967 – 1973), which followed the tradition of the previous programmes Zlatá kamera – The Golden Camera and Vyberte si pesničku – Choose a song. They were competition shows, in which viewers’ votes decided about the winner. In the 1970s and 1980s further shows came: Našich deväť- Our nine, 5xP and Triangel – Triangle. In this way mainstream singers got popular, a new singing generation took the lead (H. Bleharova, M. Docolomansky, A. Duchon, E. Duricova, A. Gondolan, D. Grun, I. Heller, T. Hubinska, J. Kocianova, Z. Kollarova, Z. Kolinska, K. Konarik, E. Kostolanyiova, I. Krajicek, M. Laiferova, M. Licko, Z. Lonska, E. Mazikova, M. Medvedova, V. Oravec, D. Ruzicka, P. Sedlak, E. Sepesiova, Z. Sychra, O. Szaboova, D. Ruzicka, A. Ticha, E.M. Uhrikova and others). Despite the fact that their popularity was created artificially by the media, we cannot deny the high interpretative level of some singers, for example. in the case of K. Duchon, D. Grun, J. Kocianova, E. Kostolányiova and M. Laiferová. In the 1990s songs of this period became an important element in some TV shows (Repete, Šlágerparáda or evenings with R. Kazík or P. Stašak).
An important step in bringing the entertainment nearer to the western methods in connection with show business was an author’s contest Bratislavská Lýra – Bratislava Lyre, organised once a year from 1966 for nearly three decades. The festival had a great importance as a form of social entertainment and it was also the confrontation of domestic and foreign song creation. Singers and composers were given the opportunity to establish themselves in public. Even more significant foreign singers and bands had concerts there. After 1989 Bratislava Lyre gradually disappeared. Another important competition on the national level was the Festival politickej piesne – Political song contest in Martin (1972 –1989). It was also the illustration of a new “committed” production. As a result of cheap conformity of that time, the festival was not very prestigious. However, it presented the then popular music scene in the best way. It gave space to less known bands and singers mainly from the field of young performers and creators, allowing us to gain a fresh insight into the background of newly emerging popular music. A significant role was played by regional festivals Detvianska zlatá ruža – The golden rose of Detva, Banskobystrické zvony – Bells of Banská Bystrica and Košický zlatý poklad Gold Treasure of Košice. The festival Děčínska kotva – Děčín anchor was the most important for Slovak singers, as at this festival contestants from Slovakia had a unique opportunity to perform at the Czech festival.

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