Memories of Stanislav Tesař's years as director of The Museum of Czech music in Prague
Zdrojový dokument: Musicologica Brunensia. 2010, roč. 45, č. 1-2, s. -111
ISSN1212-0391 (print)2336-436X (online)
Licence: Neurčená licence
Stanislav Tesař became the first director of the Museum of Czech Music (today's Czech Museum of Music) after the political change that occurred in Czechoslovakia in 1989, and served in this function from the summer of 1990 until the spring of 1997. His work was of fundamental importance for the new, logical organization of this institution in the framework of the National Museum in Prague. As a musicologist with natural managerial abilities and an education in economics, and as a convinced democrat with a sense for historical continuity and the autonomy of individual divisions, he initiated a new structure and conception for the further development of the musical museum. Under his leadership it was divided into four divisions: 1) the music history division under Jana Fojtíková, including the archive of musical manuscripts and prints, the sound recordings collection, and the library, 2) the musical instruments division under Bohuslav Čížek, 3) the Bedřich Smetana Museum under Olga Mojžíšová, and 4) the Antonín Dvořák Museum under Markéta Hallová. The success of this transformation was aided by a good working relationship with the new management of the National Museum in Prague headed by Milan Stloukal. -- The times brought with them a praiseworthy endeavour to correct illegal transfers implemented during the forty years of communist government starting in 1948. I n association with enactment of the "restitution laws", negotiations began concerning return of buildings and collections (of musical manuscripts and prints, instruments, etc.) to their original owners. The Order of the Knights of Malta asked for return of the Grand Prior's Palace in Prague's Lesser Town, the City of Prague for the buildings of the Smetana Museum and the Dvořák Museum, the Mozart Society for the villa Bertramka in Prague's Smíchov district (known for W.A. Mozart's stays there), and Maxmilián Lobkowicz for the building where Dvořák was born in Nelahozeves. Besides the Mozart Society, various monastic orders asked for return of their musical collections: the Knights of the Cross, the Benedictines of Břevnov and Broumov, and the Premonstratensians of Strahov and Teplá. Many individual persons did the same. Legally-complicated restitution cases were left to court rulings, and the others were handled on an ongoing basis in cooperation with lawyers of the National Museum. Some cases could not be settled quickly and their handling continued into a later time. -- The period of Tesař's leadership saw the opening of a new permanent exposition in the Dvořák Museum and of a Memorial Room devoted to the composers Pavel and Antonín Vranický in the Moravian town of Nová Říše featuring an exposition conceived by and with texts written by Tesař himself. I n association with celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dvořák, with participation by the president of the republic Václav Havel, part of the exposition in the composer's memorial in Nelahozeves was replaced with new material. The building of the Smetana Museum was also repaired, including the addition and the garden. On the other hand, the exposition of the Museum of Czech Music at the castle in Litomyšl was discontinued. -- The author of these recollections, Markéta Hallová, worked closely with Tesař in her position as head of the Dvořák Museum from 1991 to 1997; she then served as his substitute during his absence from the autumn of 1996 to the spring of 1997 and, after being named director of the Museum of Czech Music herself, continued his work from the spring of 1997 through January 2004. She recalls fondly the time when she worked under Tesař's leadership, even though not everything was easy either then or later. She cordially congratulates him, with gratitude, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.