Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) was a Czech composer who was in charge of a musical style which became closely associated with his country's desire for independence. He is regarded as largely in his homeland as the Czech music's father. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Fatherland...
Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) was a Czech composer who was in charge of a musical style which became closely associated with his country's desire for independence. He is regarded as largely in his homeland as the Czech music's father. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Fatherland") which portrays the composer's homeland history, legends and landscape.
Smetana was a gifted pianist and gave his first public performance at the age of six years. After schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. His first nationalistic music was written during the uprising in Prague in 1848, which he briefly participated in. Not having been able to establish a career in Prague, he left the country and went to Sweden, where he started as a teacher and choirmaster in Gothenburg, and began writing large orchestral works. In this period Smetana married twice, his six daughters died three as infants.
In the early 1860s turned Smetana - encouraged by a more liberal political climate in Bohemia - permanently back to Prague. He threw himself into the city's musical life, primarily as a champion of the new Czech opera. In 1866 got his first two operas, Brandenburgers and The Bartered Bride, premiered at Prague's new theater, Prozatímní divadlo, the latter opera gained great popularity. In the same year, Smetana theater's chief conductor, but the years of his leadership was marked by controversy. Groupings within the city's musical life felt that his interest in Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner's ideas were harmful to the development of a specifically Czech opera style. This opposition interfered with his creative work and may have weakened his health, he retired from the theater in 1874.
By the end of 1874 Smetana been completely deaf, but without responsibility for the theater and the related controversies he found time to compose and did it continuously for almost the rest of his life. His contributions to Czech music were increasingly recognized and honored, but a mental collapse early in 1884 led to hospitalization and his subsequent death. Smetana's reputation as founder of Czech music has persisted in the home country, where his advocates have raised him above his contemporaries and successors. Relatively few of Smetana's works are, however, come at the international repertoire, as many abroad believe that Antonín Dvorák is a more significant Czech composer.
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Alban Berg Quartet: ABQ. Homage. String Quartets by Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Smetana, Janacek, Bartok, etc. 5 CD. EMI Classics. 397629-2
Albinoni: Adagio. & Ravel: Bolero. & Grieg: Peer Gynt. & Mozart: Eine kleine Nachmusik & Smetana: Moldau. Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker. 1 CD. DG
Beethoven: Symphonies nos. 1, 6, 8. + Schubert: Symphony no. 8. & Smetana: Die Moldau. Bruno Walter, New York Philharmonic Orchestra. (1941). 2 CD. Cedar
Die Moldau, Romeo and Juliet, Ruslan and Ludmilla, Night on the bare Mountain. Andre Previn, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. 1 CD. Philips. 4163822
Antonin Dvorak: Slavonic Dance no. 1, 2, 7-11, 15 & Bedrich Smetana: Czech Dance no. 1, 7, 8, 10 & Leos Janacek: Lacian dance, no. 3, 5, 6 Prague Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Petr Altrichter. 1 CD. Supraphon. 1115082
Dvorak: String Quartet Op. 96. "American". + Smetana: String Quartet. Panocha Quartet. 1 CD. Supraphon
Gabriela Benackova. Opera arias. Smetana: The Bartered Bride. & Dvorak: Armida + Rusalka. & Janacek: Jenufa. & Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin + The Queen of Spades. & Prokofiev: War and Peace. & Shostakovich: Katerine Ismalova 1 CD. Supraphon 1028432
Gala concert from Prague. Czech Philharmonic plays works by Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak, Leos Janacek and Bohuslav Martinu. Vaclav Neumann conducts. 1 CD. Supraphon. 1112872 Press read more
Ivan Moravec (piano) play Bedrich Smetana: Czech dance and Polka, & Josef Suk: Love Songs. & Oldrich. F. Korte: Piano Sonata. A Live recording from 1986. 1 CD. Supraphon. 1038952
Karel Ancerl Edition vol. 1. Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mozart: Eine kleine nachmusik, Mendelssohn: Symphony no. 5. + Beethoven Symphonies nos. 6 & 8. + Smetana: Die Moldau. 3 CD. TAH
Great Conductors of the 20th Century: Karel Ancerl. Shostakovich, Novak, Kreji, Janacek, Macha, Smetana, Dvorak, Martinu, Dvorak. 2 CD. EMI
Liszt: Les Preludes, Smetana: Moldau, Von Weber: Opfording til dans. Liszt: Ungarske rhapsodier. Rossini: Wilhelm Tell overture. Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker. 1 CD. DG
Schubert: Symphony no. 9. & Beethoven: Coriolan overture & Smetana: The Bartered Bride overture, J. Strauss: Ziegeunerbaron overture. Bruno Walter, London Symphony Orchestra. (1938). 1 CD. Cedar
Bedrich Smetana: Complete Czech Dances. Antonin Kubalen (piano). 1 CD. Brilliant Classics. 900560
Smetana: Die Moldau, & Mendelssohn: The Hebrides. & J. Strauss. 6 Waltzes. Herbert von Karajan conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker, in some recordings from 1975. 1 CD. EMI. 5121162
Smetana: Die Moldau (Ma Vlast). & Antonin Dvorak: Slavonic dances. & Leos Janacek: Taras Bulba + Sinfoniettta. + Suite for strings. Zdenek Kosler, Slovak PO 3 CD. Brilliant. 99670
Bedrich Smetana: Ma Vlast. (Die Moldau) Vaclav Neumann, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. 1 CD. Berlin Classics 018565-2
Bedrich Smetana: Má Vlast. Paavo Berglund. Staatskapelle Dresden. (1978) 1 CD. EMI Masters. 085210-2