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Superb classical music: Vltava (part of Ma Vlast, My Fatherland) - Bedřich Smetana

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Composer:
Bedřich Smetana
Performer:
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Source:
Musopen
License:
Public Domain
Views:
7447

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Má vlast (meaning "My homeland" in the Czech language) is a set of six symphonic poems composed between 1874 and 1879 by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. While it is often presented as a single work in six movements and – with the exception of Vltava – is almost always recorded that way, the six pieces were conceived as individual works. They had their own separate premieres between 1875 and 1880; the premiere of the complete set took place on 5 November 1882 in Prague, under Adolf Čech, who had also conducted two of the individual premieres.

In these works Smetana combined the symphonic poem form pioneered by Franz Liszt with the ideals of nationalistic music which were current in the late nineteenth century. Each poem depicts some aspect of the countryside, history, or legends of Bohemia.

Vltava

Vltava, also known by its German name Die Moldau (or The Moldau), was composed between 20 November and 8 December 1874 and was premiered on 4 April 1875 under Adolf Čech. It is about 12 minutes long, and is in the key of E minor.

In this piece, Smetana uses tone painting to evoke the sounds of one of Bohemia's great rivers.

Motif of Vltava

The piece contains Smetana's most famous tune. It is an adaptation of the melody La Mantovana, attributed to the Italian renaissance tenor, Giuseppe Cenci, which, in a borrowed Moldovan form, was also the basis for the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah. The tune also appears in major in an old folk Czech song Kočka leze dírou ("The Cat Crawls Through the Hole"), and Hanns Eisler used it for his "Song of the Moldau".
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The text above is offered by courtesy of Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Picture source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PragueCityscape.JPG
Picture license: public domain

Performance license: Public Domain
Performance source: http://blog.musopen.org/post/29482882056/done-and-done-musopen-kickstarter-project

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