Smetana. LP - Vinyl

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Smetana. LP - Vinyl

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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