... czech and slovak music guide ...

Jakub Jan Ryba

born: 1765-10-26
died: 1815-04-08
birthplace: Prestice
diedplace: Rozmital pod Tremsinem

Czech composer, musician and teacher of the late classical period. He is the author of the most often played Christmas composition in Bohemia, Czech Christmas Mass. His father was a teacher and musician in Prestice near Pilsen. Young Jakub played piano in his age of 8 and learned to play organ and violin. With the help of his uncle he studied the piaristic college in Prague since 1780. He finished in 1785 and started philopsophy at the university. He was a supporter of the enlightenment ideology. Since 1788 until his death he worked as a teacher in Rozmital (South-West Bohemia). He got married in 1790 and had 13 children, of which just 7 survived. Though he was living in misery, he managed to compose a large number of works. As one of the first compositors he wrote songs on Czech lyrics. Two years after his death, his theoretical study "Initial and general principles of the art of music" was published. The attempt to write a dictionary of music remained just in manuscript. In the age of 49, Jakub Jan Ryba commited a suicide.

  • Czech Christmas Mass , 1796
  • more than 40 pastorales and ather religious works
  • solo concertos (for violin, cello, piano,..)
  • sonatas
  • chamber compositions for various instrumants
  • songs, dances, operas and other temporal and religious works
  • composite books of Czech traditional songs


Mala encyklopedie hudby (dr. Jar. Smolka; &kolektiv, Supraphon 1983)
cover of LP Jakub Jan Ryba: Czech Christmas Mass (Supraphon 1967, author of the commentary Jiri Berkovec)


Czech Christmas Mass (Hey, Master!) (MP3) (1. Kyrie; Beno Blachut - vocal, Milan Slechta - varhany, LP Supraphon 1967)


Last update 2012-07-04