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Bedrich Smetana (Composer)

Born: 2nd March 1824, Litonysl, Czechia

Died: 12th May 1884, Prague, Czechia

Nationality: Czech

Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style that became closely identified with his people's aspirations to a cultural and political "revival." He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Fatherland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native Bohemia. It contains the famous symphonic poem "Vltava", also popularly known by its German name "Die Moldau" (in English, "The Moldau").

Smetana was naturally gifted as a composer, and gave his first public performance at the age of 6. After conventional schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague.

Further Reading: Smetana

Recording of the Week, Smetana from the Pavel Haas Quartet

James listens to the Pavel Haas Quartet's new disc of Smetana's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2.

Recording of the Week, Two legendary performances

Rostropovich’s legendary account of the Dvorak Cello Concerto from the 1968 Proms, and Václav Talich’s emotionally-charged 1939 performance of Smetana’s Má Vlast, given at the National Theatre in Prague shortly after the Nazis entered the city.

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