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Karel Konrád (1842-1894) and the construct of the panslavic musical identity

Croatian Musicological Society & Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, Department for History of Croatian Music & Zagreb University, Academy of Music; [email protected]
Publication Date
  • Karel Konrád
  • Crkvena Glazba
  • Panslavizam U Glazbi
  • Zajednička Slavenska Muzikalnost
  • Himnologija
  • Glazbeni Identitet
  • Austroslavizam
  • Karel Konrád
  • Church Music
  • Pan-Slavism In Music
  • Common Slavic Musicality
  • Hymnology
  • Musical Identity
  • Austroslavism
  • History
  • Musicology
  • Political Science
  • Religious Science


The article draws attention to the writings of the Czech Catholic priest Karel Konrád (1842—1894), a representative of the pioneering generation of music historians in the Czech Lands, who responded to the initiative of the Pan-Slavic idea in the field of music. Konrád’s output covers many fields of interest, spanning from theology through history and hymnology to ethnography, travel and fiction. He also composed sacred music and adapted a Slovak folk song. Apart from his scholarly and compositional work, Karel Konrád was a gifted conductor and organizer of musical life. Within his extensive scholarly output, apart from domestic music culture, he also paid attention to other Western Slavic and some South Slavic nations that certainly suggested to Konrád the question of whether there exists some shared Slavic musicality. He tried to find an answer through hymnology. For him, hymnology became an effective tool in the quest for a Pan-Slavic musical identity, which could be characterised by the melodiousness and beauty of Slavic sacred songs. The musical identity defined in this way coincides with the confessional (Roman Catholic) identity. From the political point of view, his opinions fall within the scope of Austroslavism, which flourished in central Europe during the second half of the nineteenth century and strove to promote peaceful co-operation among the smaller Slavic nations of central Europe within the Habsburg Monarchy.

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