Music

Bedrich Smetana

Born 2 March 1824. Died 12 May 1884.
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Smetana: Ma Vlast

In this Proms Music Guide, Sarah Walker talks about Smetana's Ma Vlast.

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Biography

Bedřich Smetana (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.

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Links & Information

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Má  Vlast

    Má Vlast 2005

    Reviewed by Andrew McGregor
    Famous for his Dvorak, Sir Colin Davis's Smetana is equally deeply felt, particularly...
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