Miloš Bok / The Gnomes of the Valley of Křinice

The Gnomes of the Valley of Křinice is the first part of an oratorical trilogy by Miloš Bok in which the artist considers earthly life. The other sections are Saint Zdislava, depicting the afterlife in connection with earthly life, and the expectation of the Apocalypse, The Apocalypse on the Slopes of Kamenice.

Bok approached both the title and text of the composition in the spirit of an allegory. On the one hand, at the end of the 1980s he didn’t not wish to irritate his ideological adversaries with a spiritual theme (his performance of the Missa solemnis earned him conditional dismissal from the Conservatory). On the other hand he wanted to strengthen the poetic thrust of the work. The composer had thought through the composition as early as 1988, but did not begin writing the score until 1992. The opportunity to present the work in the Rudolfinum as part of his graduation concert encouraged him to complete the work.

Welcome, gnomes, welcome to the valley you venerate so much.

We open the tale of the gnomes, who still do not know that they will pray at the Cross.

We do not know whether to weep or rejoice. And therefore we go to sleep!

Welcome, gnomes, welcome to the valley.

Glory to the gnomes who made it to the slope and do not know that they will pray at the Cross and call out: Glory… (to the Father and Son …)

Do not copy Brahms!

He shifted Brahms by a sixteenth note!

Copy, glory to Brahms!

We all shall die!

We shall all meet in heaven, we will all someday die.

Do not weep, gnomes, soon we shall meet, the heavens will open, do not weep, gnomes.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

Do not weep, gnomes for we will meet in heaven.

When autumn comes, you will die, gnomes.

Do not weep, gnomes.

We will all die.

When autumn comes, you must return to the Valley of Křinice.

But we will return!

Immense glory resounds, organs, exult!

We are going on our final journey to Komáří vížka

Gnomes, praise God, that we were written down at all

Forever. Amen.

Miloš Bok was born in 1968 in Prague. As a child he studied piano and started composing at age twelve. He graduated the Prague Conservatory in the fields of piano and conducting. Because of his critical stance towards modernism, he was repeatedly denied acceptance into the field of composing. He has been living with his family in a rectory in Močidlec u Žlutic since 1992, where, with local amateur ensembles, he has been developing cathedral music. He works as a liturgical organist and pedagogue, and since 1998 his compositions have been performed by soloists of the Czech Philharmonic under his direction.

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