Czech Dreams 2024
Náměšť nad Oslavou
On the picturesque banks of the lower Oslava, 40 km from Brno, there is the small town of Náměšť nad Oslavou. The beginning of the systematic settlement of the region dates from the early 12th century. The first written account on Náměšť dates from 1234, when the Náměšťcastle was in possession of the Meziříčský family of Lomnice. In 1563 Náměšť came into possession of Jan starší of Îerotín, who had a large renaissance chateau built on the site of the original castle. He also promoted education of the Czech Brethren and had their printing house transferred from Ivančice to Kralice, where the famous Kralice Bible was printed later.
Náměšť can boast of an exceptional musical tradition. Music was being performed here as early as in the time of Karel starší of Žerotín, in the late 16th century, even though systematic concert activity was concentrated in the chateau only towards the end of 18th and during the whole 19th century. One of the most significant owners of the estate was Henry Wilhelm Haugwitz (1770 – 1842). This learned and enlightened nobleman, a great music lover, founded the chateau orchestra, only accepting servants who could either play an instrument or sing. He had gifted musicians educated in Vienna, which meant that there was hardly any ensemble that could compete with the Náměšť chateau orchestra. Henry Wilhelm was in close contact with the musical life of Vienna, being on friendly terms with a number of outstanding composers like Gluck or Salieri. Karl Wilhelm Haugwitz, who owned the estate after his father from 1834, was a successful composer and a friend of Johann Strauss. Both Haugwitzs were not only enthusiastic musicians but also collectors of scores. Henry the father, in addition, was an active translator of operatic and oratorio libretti and had Haendel’s and other composers’ oratorios performed to follow the example of the Viennese court. Karl Wilhelm, in addition to composition, played the guitar, the cithar, the harp and the piano, showing an inclination towards light music of the Viennese type (ländlers, waltzes and polkas). The Haugwitz collection of music contains a number of unique items including manuscripts by A. Salieri, valuable autograph copies of Ch. W. Gluck, and two pieces by Beethoven not to be found anywhere else, copied by Karl Wilhelm Haugwitz himself. Concerts of classical and folk music have regularly been held in the chateau library and in the yard.