Hudební Věda

The Music Collection of Prešov’s Parish Church of St. Nicolas from the Perspective of the Canon of Musical Classicism (on the Current Research)

article summary

Slávka Kopčáková

During eighteenth-century dynamic development of music styles in today’s Slovakia as well as during gradual music-style-related lagging outside the biggest cultural centers in the nineteenth-century, the city of Prešov was one of significant music centers of Upper Hungary. Music life took place not only in the choir of the parish church of St. Nicolas, but also in the surrounding aristocratic residences near Prešov. Performance practice of sacred music in the choir loft of Prešov’s St. Nicolas Church was connected to the idea of ‘classicalness’ that appeared in the early nineteenth-century in church music practice in the sense of the emerging canon and included the focal creators of Viennese music classicism. Thus, it represented and still represents, on a wider European scale, some models for music creation and performance practice; in the case of larger vocal and vocal-instrumental works, taking into account the creative abilities of regional composers and interpretive background (musicians and church ensembles). This logically resulted in the inclination towards smaller musical genres in smaller communities and in the fluctuating quality of the work of local composers in the past.

In the case of shorter compositions and music genres, within ceremonial liturgies, in addition to the mass cycle, compositions such as mass, offertories, pastorale, antiphons, the passion, parts of oratorios, but also concert works for chamber cast are played practically till today; especially those of late Baroque and music Classicism.

To date, the music collection on the choir of the parish church has not been made accessible to researchers, has not been systematized, or deposited in a museum or archival institution. It has remained the property of the Roman Catholic Church. The most valuable part of the collection are musical sources from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries, on the basis of which it is possible to identify not only the repertoire and the existing contemporary canon, but also regional and local composers. The aim of the study is to deal with the collection in terms of repertoire and composers, but also as valuable comparative material for research into music history in Slovakia in classicism.

Key words: music classicism in Eastern Slovakia; collection of music of the parish church of St. Nicholas; sacred music; repertoire; canon; performance practice

Translated by Alena Kačmárová

The complete text of this article can be found in the printed edition of Hudební věda 3/2021