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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Dvorak: String Quartet Op. 96. & Smetana: String Quartet no. 1. Julliard Quartet. 1 LP. CBS
Dvorak: Strygekvartet nr. 12. Op. 96 & Smetana: Strygekvartet nr. 1. Medici Quartet. 1 LP. EMI
Antonin Dvorak: Symphony no. 9. & Bedrich Smetana: Die Moldau. Vienna Philharmonic is conducted by Herbert von Karajan, in a recording from 1985. 1 LP. Deutsche Grammophon. 4155091 * A brand new copy.
Antonin Dvorak: Symphony no. 9 & Bedrich Smetana: Die Moldau. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra are conducted by Herbert von Karajan. The very famous musical and technically impressive recording from 1959. Here in a brand new example (Few.) TF / E 1 LP. English EMI. SXLP 1004911 * A brand new copy ***Recommendation ***
Antonin Dvorak: Symphony no. 9. & Bedrich Smetana: Die Moldau. Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Mariss Jansons, in a recording from 1989. 1 LP. EMI Classics. LP 749860-1 * A brand new copy
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Favourite scenes and arias. Gianni Schicchi, la Boheme, Otello, The Bartered Bride, Eugene Onegin, Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Der Freischuitz. 2 LP. EMI. SXDW 3049 ***Recommendation ***
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: Opera Arias. Gianni Schicchi, Otello, Der Freischütz, Tannhäuser, la Bohem, Eugen Onegin, Lohengrin, Der verkaufte Braut, 2 LP. EMI. 181-52291/93
Charles Ives: Variations on America. & Bedrich Smetana: Die Moldau. & Jean Sibelius: Finlandia. & Ralph Vaughan Williams: English folk song suite.´Arthur Fiedler conducts Boston Pops 1 LP. London. (cut). 'Phase 4'. 21178 * A Brand new copy
Leos Janacek: Violin Sonata. & Antonin Dvorak: 4 romantic pieces, opus 75 Bedrich Smetana &: From my home country. Sergiu Luca plays the violin and Paul Schoenfield on piano, in a recording from 1977. 1 LP. Nonesuch. H 71350
Smetana: Die Moldau, Sibelius: Finlandia, Suppe: Poet and Peasant, Saint-Saens_ Danse Macabre. Arturo Toscanini, NBC SO. 1 LP. RCA. VL 46007
Pearls from the Slavic music treasure by Dvorak, Smetana, Borodin and Janacek. The most popular works. Various Czech musicians, in some recordings from 1969. 1 LP. Supraphon. 104487
Popular Classical music from Decca. 1 LP. Decca. 417455-1 Press read more * A brand new copy
Rumanian Rhapsody. Works by Brahms, Enesco, Dvorak, Liszt, Smetana. New York PO. Leonard Bernstein. 1 LP. CBS. 30645
Smetana, Dvorak, Mozart: String Quartets. Guarneri Quartet. 2 LP. RCA
Bedrich Smetana: 4 Symphonic poems. Richard the 3, Op. 11 + Wallenstein's Camp, Op. 14 + Hakon Jarl, Op. 16 + Prager Carnival. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vaclav Neumann, in some recordings fra1974. 1 LP. Supraphon. 4101584 ***Recommendation ***
Bedrich Smetana: 4 Symphonic poems. Richard the 3, Opus 11 + Wallenstein's Lager, opus 14 + Hakon Jarl, Opus 16 + Prager Carnival. Bayerische Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rafael Kubelik, in some recordings from 1972. 1 LP. DG 2530248 ***Recommendation ***
Smetana: Die Moldau. & Brahms: Hungarian Dances & Liszt: Les Preludes. & Dvorak: Slavonic Dance, no. 1 and 8, Chicago Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Daniel Barenboim, in some recordings from 1977. 1 LP. Deutsche Grammophon 2531054
Smetana: Die Moldau. & Brahms: Hungarian Dances & Liszt: Les Preludes. & Dvorak: Slavonic Dance, no. 1 and 8, & Borodin: Polovtsian dances. Chicago Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Daniel Barenboim, in some recordings from 1977. 1 LP. Deutsche Grammophon. DGG 415851-1 * A brand new copy Press read more