Bedřich Smetana

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Wikipedia

Bedřich Smetana (Czech pronunciation: [ˈbɛdr̝ɪx ˈsmɛtana] ( ); 2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride; for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Homeland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native land; and for his First String Quartet, From My Life.

Smetana was naturally gifted as a pianist, and gave his first public performance at the age of six. After his conventional schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. His first nationalistic music was written during the 1848 Prague uprising, in which he briefly participated. After failing to establish his career in Prague, he left for Sweden, where he set up as a teacher and choirmaster in Gothenburg, and began to write large-scale orchestral works. During this period of his life Smetana was twice married; of six daughters, three died in infancy.

In the early 1860s, a more liberal political climate in Bohemia encouraged Smetana to return permanently to Prague. He threw himself into the musical life of the city, primarily as a champion of the new genre of Czech opera. In 1866 his first two operas, The Brandenburgers in Bohemia and The Bartered Bride, were premiered at Prague's new Provisional Theatre, the latter achieving great popularity. In that same year, Smetana became the theatre's principal conductor, but the years of his conductorship were marked by controversy. Factions within the city's musical establishment considered his identification with the progressive ideas of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner inimical to the development of a distinctively Czech opera style. This opposition interfered with his creative work, and may have hastened the health breakdown which precipitated his resignation from the theatre in 1874.

By the end of 1874, Smetana had become completely deaf but, freed from his theatre duties and the related controversies, he began a period of sustained composition that continued for almost the rest of his life. His contributions to Czech music were increasingly recognised and honoured, but a mental collapse early in 1884 led to his incarceration in an asylum and his subsequent death.

Smetana's reputation as the founding father of Czech music has endured in his native country, where advocates have raised his status above that of his contemporaries and successors. However, relatively few of Smetana's works are in the international repertory, and most foreign commentators tend to regard Antonín Dvořák as a more significant Czech composer.

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Discography

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Album

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1965 Mein Vaterland Friedrich Smetana; Tchechische Philharmonie, Karel Ančerl 1
1971 Smetana: Má vlast / Dvořák: Slavonic Dances, Op. 46 Nos. 1-6 Smetana / Dvořák 1
1982 Smetana: Die Moldau / Dvorak: Slawische Tänze / Tchaikovsky: Dornröschen / Tchaikovsky: Romeo und Julia Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Пётр Ильич Чайковский; London Festival Orchestra, George Ralph Warren 1
1984 Ma Vlast Smetana; Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Rafael Kubelík 2
1985 Dvořák: Symphonie no. 9 / Smetana: Moldau Dvořák, Smetana; Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 3
1985 Ma Vlast / Die Verkaufte Braut Bedřich Smetana; Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Václav Neumann 1
1986 Dvorák: Piano Trio no. 4 in E minor, op. 90 "Dumky" / Smetana: Piano Trio in G minor Dvořák, Smetana; Borodin Trio 1
1986 Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" / Smetana: Vltava Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana; Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 1
1987 Má vlast Smetana; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Antal Doráti 2
1987 Má vlast Smetana; Wiener Philharmoniker, James Levine 1
1988 Sinfonie no. 9 E-Moll op. 95 / Die Moldau Aus: Mein Vaterland / Les Preludes Dvořák, Smetana, Liszt; Ferenc Fricsay 4
1988 String Quartets Bedřich Smetana; Trávníček Quartet 1
1989 Borodin Quartet No. 2 Smetana Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" (Cleveland Quartet) Borodin / Smetana 1
1989 Mein Vaterland Smetana; hr-Sinfonieorchester, Eliahu Inbal 1
1991 Má Vlast (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra feat. conductor Jiří Bělohlávek) Bedřich Smetana 1
1992 Mein Vaterland Friedrich Smetana; Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Walter Weller 1
1992 Smetana: The Moldau / Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Bizet: Symphony No. 1 Smetana / Mendelssohn / Bizet 1
1992 Má vlast Smetana; Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Zdeněk Mácal 1
1992 Má Vlast (My Country) Bedřich Smetana 1
1992 My Fatherland Smetana; Czechoslovakian State Philharmony of Prague, Libor Pešek 1
1993 Fibich: Symphony no. 1 in F major / Smetana: Vyšehrad & Vltava from "Má vlast" Zdeněk Fibich, Bedřich Smetana; Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi 1
1993 Má Vlast Smetana; Wiener Philharmoniker, Rafael Kubelík 4
1993 Má Vlast Smetana; Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Walter Süsskind 1
1993 Prokofjev: Pekka ja susi / Smetana: Moldau Prokofiev / Smetana 1
1994 Mendelssohn: Piano Trio in D minor, op. 49 / Smetana: Piano Trio in G minor, op. 15 Mendelssohn, Smetana; Trio Pro Arte 1
1994 Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 / Bedřich Smetana: Vltava Dvořák / Smetana 1
1994 Die Brandenburger in Böhmen (Chor und Orchester des Prager Nationaltheaters, feat. conductor: Jan Hus Tichy, singers: Kalas, Joran, Zidek, Otava, Votava) Bedřich Smetana 1
1994 Klaviertrios Аnton Arensky, Bedrich Smetana; Trio Parnassus 1
1994 Má Vlast Smetana; Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit 1
1994 Má Vlast (My Country) Smetana; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Václav Smetáček 2
1994 Má vlast (My Fatherland) Smetana; Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta 1
1994 Smetana: Má Vlast / The Bartered Bride / Hakon Jarl / Dvořák: Czech Suite / Prague Waltzes Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák; Walter Weller, István Kertész, Antal Doráti 1
1994 Smetana: My Country; Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 "Kreutzer Sonate" (London Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Alfred Scholz; Philharmonia Slovanica feat. conductor: Alfred Scholz; Endress Quartet) Smetana / Janáček 1
1994 Tajemství / Viola (excerpt) (Prague National Theatre) Bedřich Smetana 1
1994 The Bartered Bride (Chorus & Orchestra of the Prague National Theatre feat. conductor: Zdeněk Chalabala) Bedřich Smetana 2
1995 Smetana: Die Moldau / Dvořák: Stabat Mater Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák; London Symphony Orchestra, Alfred Scholz, Orchester Radio-Television Ljubljana 1
1995 Great Classical Melodies Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Verdi; Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Bystrík Režucha, Zdeněk Košler 2
1995 Klaviertrios (Abegg Trio) Janáček / Smetana 1
1995 Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies / Les Préludes / Mazeppa; Smetana: Vysehrad / Die Moldau (Berliner Philharmoniker feat. conductor: Herbert von Karajan) Liszt / Smetana 1
1995 Má vlast Bedřich Smetana; Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi 1
1995 String Quartets No. 1" From My Life" & No. 2 (Smetana Quartet) [Box Set disc 1] Bedřich Smetana 1
1996 Dvořák: String Quartet Op. 96 "American" / Smetana: String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" Dvořák, Smetana; Alban Berg Quartet 1
1996 Dalibor (Prague National Theatre Chorus & Orchestra feat. conductor: Zdeněk Košler) Bedřich Smetana 1
1996 Ravel / Shostakovich / Janaček / Smetana / Britten Ravel, Shostakovich, Janaček, Smetana, Britten; The Medici String Quartet 1
1997 Má Vlast (My Country) Smetana; Slovak State Philharmonic, Košice, Reinhard Seifried 2
1997 Má Vlast Smetana; The London Classical Players, Sir Roger Norrington 1
1998 Talich Conducts Smetana: Ma Vlast Bedřich Smetana; Vaclav Talich & the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra 1
1998 Smetana: Piano Trio, op. 15 / Suk: Piano Trio, op. 2 / Novák: Piano Trio, op. 27 Smetana, Suk, Novák; Joachim Trio 1
1998 Klavírní skladby pro 8 nebo 16 rukou Bedřich Smetana 1
1999 Smetana: Die Moldau / Vyšehrad / Dvořák: Scherzo capriccioso / Liszt: Les Préludes / Ungarische Rhapsodie Nr. 4 Smetana, Dvořák, Liszt; Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 1

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