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Smetana: Má vlast
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Ma Vlast (Ma Patrie), cycle de poèmes symphoniques / Philharmonie Tchèque, dir. Rafael Kubelik
Top Customer Reviews
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, `árka', 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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just returned from Prague, this was a good reminder of the atmosphere I experienced there.Published 25 days ago by AJD
Primarily boug1t because of the harp work, whole CD good listening. Recommend this recording of a lesser known work.Published 13 months ago by htay
The purchase of a piece of music I love has been made all the better by this brilliant rendition. It was recommended to me and I wasn't disappointed - I thoroughly enjoyed it.Published on 21 Mar. 2014 by Mike R
This was my top favourite version when on CD and now I've downloaded to it my Android, it's so good to finally have it back again to carry around with me to enjoy even more :-)... Read morePublished on 20 Mar. 2014 by Scott N.
.... hunt down the DVD version, the best Ma Vlast in any medium. There's also an alternative performance he gave outdoors in Prague, which is also findable [and downloadable :-) ]Published on 31 Dec. 2013 by Graeme Withers