More than 100 bell towers across Prague will ring out in unison tomorrow

In advance of a performance of War Requiem at Prague Castle, bell towers across the city will ring out for 10 minutes on Sunday, September 3 from 6:00 p.m.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 02.09.2023 12:43:00 (updated on 03.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague will observe a solemn moment tomorrow evening as more than a hundred bell towers across the city ring out together for ten minutes from 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 3.

Iconic Prague locations such as Týn Church, St. Nicholas Church, and St. Vitus Cathedral will take part in the event, which pays tribute to war victims. The bell ringing also serves as a prelude to an evening concert from the Prague Sounds Festival, hosted at Prague Castle's Vladislav Hall.

The main event of the evening will be a performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, which will be brought to life by the joint orchestras of Prague Philharmonia, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the Prague Philharmonic Choir and Radost Praha Children's Choir, under the baton of conductor Lukáš Vasilek.

The concert will feature acclaimed soloists including German soprano Susanne Bernhard, American tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven, Swedish baritone Arvid Fagerfjäll, and Czech organist Linda Sítková.

"The Vladislav Hall is the most precious space within the Prague Castle complex. It is used only exceptionally and, in the vast majority of cases, for the most important state events," Jana Vohralíková, head of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic, says through a press release.

"In fact, this year it will open its doors to exceptional cultural events only twice. The realization of the War Requiem in this space is a symbol of hope for us, showing that music helps overcome any difficulty and lifts people's eyes beyond the horizon."

The War Requiem concert symbolizes not only a requiem for war victims but also a poignant call for an end to ongoing war. The concert also holds significance as one of the first major cultural initiatives to open Vladislav Hall to the public following the election of a new president.

Benjamin Britten composed War Requiem in 1962 to commemorate the reconstruction of Coventry Cathedral after its destruction during World War II. Britten's work is a compelling anti-war manifesto that speaks through its evocative text and music, and its rare performances make it a remarkable event.

Thanks to Czech Television and TV Arte Concert, the concert from Prague will be broadcast not only in the Czech Republic but also across Europe, allowing a larger audience to participate in this moving tribute.

The Prague Sounds Festival, formerly known as Struny podzimu (Strings of Autumn), will take place from November 1 to 18, 2023, featuring a diverse lineup of renowned artists and musicians from various genres. More information about this year's festival can be found on its official website.

Bells have long been associated with significant events, and the synchronized ringing throughout Prague will pay homage to the victims of war while encouraging reflection and prayers for peace, especially in these times when conflicts continue to affect lives around the world.

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