Miscellany and Music from Slovak Movies

Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra – Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been traveling since August and decided to take a few days to “wind down”. Even after spending quality time in each country, it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of history, art, and culture – past and present.

Lúčnica Choir – bhsfestival.sk
Zagreb Next

I’m leaving Bratislava and traveling to Zagreb next week. My first visit was in 2013, during a fast-paced summer trip, so memories are vague. This time, I’ll stay for a while to soak up more Croatian culture. During the holiday season, Zagreb is known for its popular Christmas Market, so it’s a great time to visit. Enjoying the lights and music while sipping hot mulled wine on a chilly evening is the best!

Zagreb Christmas Market – Bolt Travel

European Christmas Market – Just Travel Cover
EU Energy Crisis

I read an article in Politico with Slovakia’s Prime Minister, Eduard Heger, expressing his concern about “soaring electricity costs“. So far, I haven’t experienced firsthand evidence of an “EU energy and gas shortage crisis“. Ukraine aside, media sources make it sound extreme and doomsday dire – but I haven’t seen that. This year, autumn was mild, and winter is just beginning, so time will tell. In 2023, Slovakia is scheduled to “cap energy prices to help ease the impact of soaring bills”.

Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard HegerÚrad vlády SR

Here and in Vienna, I’ve talked to travelers from the UK and EU who are concerned about the oil and gas situation, especially with winter closing in on Europe. Many European countries heat large buildings with fossil-fuel-burning boilers. The European Commission is considering energy-saving options, like possibly phasing out those boilers and replacing them with geothermal heat pumps.

Rastislav Štúr Composer and Conductor – rastislavstur.sk

Bratislava has less auto and bicycle congestion than other European cities I’ve visited. Trams and trolleys are reliable and my favorite means of getting around the city. Restaurants are expensive everywhere, but basic food costs in Central Europe seem reasonable, at least when compared to the US.

Town Hall and Tower Bratislava – Welcome to Bratislava
Slovak Mayoral Elections

Matúš Vallo was elected to another term as Mayor of Bratislava, following a “sweeping victory in the municipal elections on October 29”. I have noticed political billboards around the city, but didn’t realize the elections were taking place in October.

Matúš Vallo Major of Bratislava – Dennik N Photo Tomáš Benedikovič

“For the first time, municipal and regional elections were held on the same day in Slovakia. In the regional elections, six of Slovakia’s eight regions will see no change in the governor post. Most regional capitals will also continue under the same mayors for another term.” Matúš Vallo has been the mayor of the Slovak capital since December 2018. Before serving as mayor, he was a co-founder of the architectural studio Vallo Sadovsky Architects.

Slovak Films

The symphony was another evening of exceptional music performed by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Lúčnica Choir. The program featured dramatic musical scores from popular Slovak films, including fabulous solos! By the reaction of the audience, it was clear they were treasured stories. Film is a good way to learn about a country’s values, history, and culture.

Elena Matušová Choirmaster – lucnica.sk

Rastislav Štúr conducted the Philharmonic, and Elena Matušová is choirmaster of the Lúčnica Choir. An emcee introduced the music performed, and she spoke very fast Slovakian, no English. There was humor involved in her introductions, since the audience laughed quite a bit in response to her presentation. The printed programs were in Slovakian as well, so I was glad to have done a bit of research before the concert. Composer Ľubica Čekovská and director / screenwriter Mariana Čengel Solčanská made guest appearances and spoke briefly about their highly successful films – Dubček and The Legend of Flying Cyprian.

Links to the films are included below. While researching them, I discovered bold music, compelling storylines, and captivating characters, composers, and directors. Most of the trailers and videos are in Slovakian, but some have English subtitles.

Milan Rastislav Štefánik Co-Founder Czech Republic – spisskabela.sk

Panpipes – Amazon

  • Krajinka (The Landscape) 2000 Martin Šulík director – a series of unrelated short stories moving chronologically through Slovakia’s twentieth-century history as “seen from the perspective of life in small towns and villages”

Concerts in Bratislava have been a special part of this trip!

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