Ars Rediviva was a Czech instrumental early music group, whose historically informed performances played a key role in the revival of Baroque music in Czechoslovakia.
Ars Rediviva was founded in 1951 in Prague by flautist and musicologist Milan Munclinger and his wife, pianist, and harpsichordist Viktorie Švihlíková (she was later succeeded by Josef Hála). In the original cast also played two prominent members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, cellist František Sláma and oboist Stanislav Duchoň (later succeeded by violinists Václav Snítil and Antonín Novák). From 1951 to 1956 Václav Talich collaborated with Ars Rediviva.
The repertoire consisted largely of chamber music, the works of J.S. Bach ranked high on the list. Depending on score requirements, the ensemble's size expanded regularly up to the chamber orchestra having mainly Czech Philharmonic Orchestra instrumentalists as members (a complete string group with its section leaders, prominent wind-players, for example solo flautists Géza Novák and František Čech, solo oboist Jiří Mihule, solo bassoonists Karel Bidlo and František Herman, solo horn-players Miroslav Štefek and Zdeněk Tylšar, solo double-bass player František Pošta, etc.).
Ars Rediviva collaborated with the Czech Philharmonic Choir, Czech singers (Karel Berman, Ladislav Mráz, Jana Jonášová, Virginia Walterová, Ludmila Vernerová, etc.) and foreign artists, specializing in performances of Baroque and Classical music (e.g. András Adorján, Theo Altmeyer, Maurice André, Nedda Casei, Otto Peter, Jean-Pierre Rampal).
In 1954 the ensemble started giving season performances in Wallenstein Pallace, later in Rudolfinum) in Prague (6 concerts, later 12 concerts a year). In four decades several hundreds of compositions were introduced here, including scores of premiered archive pieces. Live recordings of Ars Rediviva performances in Rudolfinum are deposited in the Czech Museum of Music Recording Library (see External links: The Czech Museum of Music).
Ars Rediviva was the first ensemble in Czechoslovakia to record a large number of works of J.S. Bach (LP's of the complete Brandenburg concertos, The Art of Fugue (BWV 1080), The Musical Offering (BWV 1079), trio sonatas, flute sonatas, of cantatas, concertos reconstructions, etc.), Bach's sons (Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: sonatas, sinfonies, concerts; Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: sinfonies, sonatas; Johann Christian Bach: chamber music, sinfonies), Antonio Vivaldi (concertos, sonatas, Stabat Mater), Jean-Philippe Rameau (e.g. Pièces en Concerts), François Couperin (Les Apothéoses, Les Goûts réunis), Georg Philipp Telemann (concertos, orchestral suites, Nouveaux Quatuors, Tafelmusik, Essercizii musici, Der harmonische Gottesdienst, cantatas), Jan Dismas Zelenka (trio sonatas ZWV 181, orchestral works, Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae), František Benda (sonatas, flute concertos), Jiří Antonín Benda (Ariadne auf Naxos, Bendas Klage, sonatas, concertos), etc. The ensemble recorded for Supraphon, Panton, Columbia, Ariola, CBS, Orfeo, Nippon, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony as well as for broadcasting and television companies and film industry (awards: Grand Prix du Disque, Supraphon Golden Lion, etc.).
Jan Tausinger, Ivan Jirko, Ilja Hurník and other Czech composers dedicated their neoclassical compositions to Ars Rediviva (e.g. Hurník's Sonata da Camera, Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra).