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Musica Aeterna celebrates 25 years

Musica Aeterna, a Slovak classical music ensemble that plays pieces composed in the 17th and 18th centuries, celebrated its 25th anniversary in November, and will be staging a special concert on December 8 at Moyzes Hall in Bratislava.
Since 1986, the ensemble has been under the wings of the Slovak Philharmonic as one of its 10 orchestras. After the 1989 revolution, Musica Aeterna got into the "baroque business," playing at baroque music festivals around Europe and putting out CD's .
The ensemble was founded in 1973 at the initiative of Ján Albrecht (1919-1996), a respected figure in the field of 'early music'. Albrecht initially brought young teenage musicians to play at his home, which breathed an atmosphere of "cigarette smoke, fine arts, special people and the warmth of him and his wife", said Ján Gréner, a violinist with Musica Aeterna.


Fourteen members of Musica Aeterna play on original instruments
Courtesy of Musica Aeterna

Musica Aeterna, a Slovak classical music ensemble that plays pieces composed in the 17th and 18th centuries, celebrated its 25th anniversary in November, and will be staging a special concert on December 8 at Moyzes Hall in Bratislava.

Since 1986, the ensemble has been under the wings of the Slovak Philharmonic as one of its 10 orchestras. After the 1989 revolution, Musica Aeterna got into the "baroque business," playing at baroque music festivals around Europe and putting out CD's .

The ensemble was founded in 1973 at the initiative of Ján Albrecht (1919-1996), a respected figure in the field of 'early music'. Albrecht initially brought young teenage musicians to play at his home, which breathed an atmosphere of "cigarette smoke, fine arts, special people and the warmth of him and his wife", said Ján Gréner, a violinist with Musica Aeterna.

The ensemble espouses the use of period instruments (or their copies) from the 17th and 18th centuries. European music - in particularly that of central European or Slovak origin - forms the group's core repertoire.

In addition to concerts in Bratislava and throughout Slovakia, Musica Aeterna performs regularly abroad, enjoying an association of many year's standing with the Centre for Baroque Music at Versailles, which was helpful also before the revolution. In 1987, French music connoisseurs Philippe Beaussant and Marc Ecochard recognised the talent of Musica Aeterna and invited the ensemble to play in France.

Following the revolution, Musica Aeterna appeared at major international festivals in Holland, Hungary, Prague and Germany, and toured America in 1996 and 1997.

Peter Zajíček, art director with Musica Aeterna, complained that young Slovak musicians are as disinterested in early music as is the nation's music industry. "I buy our CD's abroad, as the possibility to record in Slovakia is minimal", he said.

Musica Aeterna has recorded more than 15 CD titles on domestic and foreign labels, many of which have received prestigious prizes and critical acclaim, including the Diapason d'Or in 1994 and 1995 (an award conferred by a prestigious French magazine) for the complete Concerti Grossi of Georg Muffat.

The ensmble's next concert takes place on December 8 at 19:00 in Moyzes Hall on Vajanského Nábrežie. Tickets are available at the Slovak Philharmonic (see What's up in Bratislava).

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