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Smetana: Má vlast

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Supraphon
  • ASIN: B00000355X
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,526 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Ma Vlast (Ma Patrie), cycle de poèmes symphoniques / Philharmonie Tchèque, dir. Rafael Kubelik

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
Years ago I frequented a classical CD shop. When I had a choice of versions, the proprietor told me that you usually couldn't go wrong with a conductor and/or orchestra with the same nationality as the composer. How right he was in this case. Added to this, it is a live performance in Prague just after the Czechs gained independence from the Soviet Union,giving the performance an extra verve. Vltava is by far the most familiar section as it stands alone as a tone poem ( also due to a certain commercial classical radio station) but in total this is a masterpiece of nationalist music. The performance overall is superb and the finale, Blanik, just stunning. I know it's more expensive than some versions but in my opinion, well worth the extra.
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Format: Audio CD
Bedrich Smetana's Má Vlast is one of the great nationalist musical works of the 19th-century. It has been recorded by many conductors including Václav Talich and Karel Ančerl and both would be near the top of my list. It is also well worth listening to is Kubelik's Boston Symphony Orchestra recording of 1970.

The six tone poems making up Má Vlast were written separately and each had its own premiere. The entire cycle was premiered at the end of 1882. Of the six, `Vltava', also known as `Die Moldau' perhaps because Smetana's mother-tongue was German, and `From Bohemia's Woods and Fields' are often played separately.

Smetana had met Liszt in the 1857 and was inspired by his tone poems and based his early works, such as `Richard III' and `Haakon Jarl', on literary subjects. Smetana was working on `Vysehrad' when he lost his hearing. His idea was to base `Má Vlast' on landscape features, the river [`Vltava'], Bohemia's woods and fields, `Vysehrad' [a fortress] and mountains [`Blaník'], and on historical/mythological characters, `Šárka', a mythical warrior-maiden of Bohemia, and `Tábor', named after the city in the south of Bohemia founded by the Hussites and serving as their centre during the 15th-century Hussite Wars. Blaník is also the site where, according to mythology, the Hussite warriors are sleeping awaiting the call to rise up at a time of national need. The individual tone poems are linked thematically, motifs from Vysehrad reappear in the next three works whilst the latter two are linked through the rhythmic tattoo of the former being taken up in the final tone poem.

I find that Czech players, notably the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, have a very specific `feel' for this music.
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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 16 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD
There is a special atmosphere to this recording, from the moment the harps strike up, strumming their evocative arpeggios to be answered by the tangy Czech woodwinds. This ambience is especially noticeable given the immediacy of the live sound, while the acoustic and relative absence of audience noise do not prevent you from sensing that this an important live occasion, whereby the aging and ill conductor had recovered sufficiently to direct the Czech Philharmonic for the first time after an absence of over forty years.

However, if you are expecting an explosion of post-independence nationalistic fervour to ignite this performance, you will be disappointed; it is instead rich, intense and full of what I can only infer is love - of country, of course, but infused with a deep joy rather than bravura defiance. My brief acquaintance with the Czech Republic, its people and culture has taught me a profound respect for that great Middle-European civilisation and I respond to this approach; others may demand more fireworks. I should nonetheless point out that high-points such as the conclusion to "Vltava" and the immediately subsequent launching into the depiction of the warrior-maiden Šárka lack nothing in terms of tension, nor do the various dances and "furiants".

"Vltava" was literally the first piece of classical music which alerted me as young child to the beauties of the art-form via a big Reader's Digest box of LPs in my parents' gramophone and to my ears the weight and pacing ear are ideal, despite the objections of another reviewer that it is too fast. Nor do I hear a mistake in the woodwinds in the opening of that most famous movement; indeed the playing is superlative, the brass vibrant and the strings glowing.
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Format: Audio CD
When attending a pre-performance talk prior to a concert of the first three pieces of the Ma Vlast by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the speaker warmly recommended this recording.
I bought it and never looked back. It's live but the atmosphere is truly amazing and the sound quality good.
Everybody wanted to play that night and you can truly feel the love and dedication that the conductor and the orchestra put into the performance for the special occasion.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Great interpretation, by orchestra of the home country where this cycle of symphonic poems have been composed - it is one of the national art treasury and so it is always played by home country orchestra - played with hart and with pace it was originally composed.
Kubelik conducted this very same poems many times - for comparison I will pick up specific one with Boston Symphony Orchestra (ASIN: B000001GC2) - which is really very good, clear interpretation (and recording), but the original pace the poem was composed is a little bit lost because interpretation was polished to satisfy ear of western listener.
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