The Benedictine Abbey in Rajhrad


Janáček had been in contact with the Rajhrad Abbey since he was a young man as the Papal Printing House of the Rajhrad Benedictines printed his early works. Later, he travelled to Rajhrad with his pupils from the Organ School to perform at the celebratory masses in the Abbey Cathedral of St Peter and Paul. In 1914 he took his students on a trip to the Rajhrad Abbey to perform Eduard Tregler's Mass for three voices in F major with organ accompaniment. Leoš Janáček played the organ, Bohumil Holub conducted the performance, and the soloists were JUDr Jaroslav Lecian and Rudolf Janč. On the same day, there was also an organ concert at which the most mature students of the school performed. In return the Benedictines provided the students of the Organ School with generous refreshments.

Benedictine abbey, Rajhrad © Archive of the Benedictine abbey of St. Peter and Paul in Rajhrad
Benedictine abbey, Rajhrad © Archive of the Benedictine abbey of St. Peter and Paul in Rajhrad

We had a successful performance of Liszt's Mass for male chorus in Rajhrad, the residence of Abbot Šup, the patron of our school. Afterwards there was a good lunch at a nearby restaurant, where everyone enjoyed themselves. On this occasion, we were apart from Janáček accompanied by Tregler, who conducted, and Holub, who played the organ, as well as by Professor Malý on violin. While the first three were guests of the monastery, Malý stayed with us and paid for a whole quarter of Pilsner. That certainly contributed to the good atmosphere and there was singing and playing as only the youth can do. In the afternoon, however, the abbot had asked us to give an organ concert. Despite the afternoon intermezzo everything turned out well, there were more hearty refreshments, and in the evening we left Rajhrad with a beaming Janáček.

From the memoirs of Emil Burejsa, a student of the Organ School (Region of Ostravsko on the thirtieth anniversary of LJ's death, Ostrava 1958)