Czech Museum of Music (Ceske Muzeum Hudby)
Run under the auspices of Prague’s National Museum, which has five branches, the Czech Museum of Music (Ceske Muzeum Hudby) is located in the former church of St Mary Magdalene in Malá Strana (the Lesser Quarter) on the west bank of the River Vltava. This 17th-century Baroque beauty was designed by Italian architect Francesco Caratti and over the years it has served as a Dominican monastery, police barracks and a history archive before its interior was remodeled into a light-filled, high-ceilinged atrium to accommodate the museum’s vast collections of precious musical instruments and scores. An entertaining permanent exhibition entitled ‘Man–Instrument–Music’ features the relationship between man and his musical instruments, set to the backdrop of music recorded on those displayed; among the highlights is a piano once played by Mozart and a series of ornate harps inlaid with mother of pearl. A schedule of temporary exhibitions might produce a mixed bag of art and music, or the occasional display of rare scores from the museum’s repository of 700,000 musical artifacts.
Classical concerts performing the work of Czech composers such as Dvořák and Smetana are frequently held in the atrium, which is beautifully illuminated in a rainbow of colors at night.
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