Rybovka - The sixth door

Over the years I have written about Christmas carols more than once. I love the old traditional Christmas carols and Christmas oldies. They make me get all mushy. In fact I'm sitting here now, at the end of September - I had to start early to make sure I'd get the advent calendar finished in time - and listening to a "Vintage Christmas" playlist on YouTube, very softly, I don't want the neighbors to break down my door, but it helps me getting in the mood.

Today, however, my topic is a special piece of Christmas music that I hadn't been aware of before last Christmas when I happened to see a TV program on Christmas in Prague - Rybovka.

Jakub Jan Ryba's Czech Christmas Mass - "
Česká mše vánočni" in Czech
- also called "Hej Mistře, vstaň bystře!" or simply Rybovka, written in 1796, is his most popular work and still performed in churches around the country every Christmas.
Special about it is that Ryba, a very educated (but rather unfortunate) man and productive composer of mostly religious work, also wrote the texts - in Czech instead of the then common Latin because he believed it would provide a better and easier access for the people.

Within the frames of a traditional Latin mass, the Rybovka tells the Nativity story in a Bohemian setting. The music is lovely, and after listening to it first and then browsing some pages, I was happy to read that the music reminds of "Mozart's or Haydn's Vienna style" because that had been my impression, too.

Are you curious now? Why don't you listen to it yourself then?

Ruth Fra
Česká mše vánoční - the most popular piece of Czech Christmas music
Peter Quantrill: Bohemian Christmas music: Beyond King Wenceslas


  1. I didn’t listen to the entire presentation, but listened to a few minutes of it. The music is very pretty and happy sounding. And while the singer is obviously quite talented, I preferred when he wasn’t singing, because I couldn’t hear the music as well.


    1. It grows on you, but would probably be even nicer if I could understand the words.
      I found Ryba's own story quite sad, so it was amazing that he could create something that is still important to people today.

  2. I don't normally listen to this style of music, but that was lovely. As noted by the previous comment, I think I would prefer it with just the music and no singing.

    1. Spontaneously I only found one part of it as an instrumental version, there may be more.