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These years saw Smetana's growing recognition as the principal exponent of Czech national music. On 4 January , a special concert in Prague marked the 50th anniversary of his first public performance; Smetana attended, and played his Piano Trio in G minor from In May The Bartered Bride was given its th performance, an unprecedented event in the history of Czech opera.

It was so popular that a repeat "th performance" was staged. In , Smetana had written to a friend, the Czech poet Jan Neruda , revealing fears of the onset of madness. The hospital registered the cause of death as senile dementia. None of them played any significant role in Smetana's musical life. The asteroid Smetana was named in his honour. The basic materials from which Smetana fashioned his art, according to Newmarch, were nationalism, realism and romanticism.

All but a handful of Smetana's compositions before his departure for Gothenburg are piano works. The set of Six Characteristic Pieces of was dedicated to Liszt, who described it as "the most outstanding, finely felt and finely finished pieces that have recently come to my note. In his last decade Smetana composed three substantial piano cycles.

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The first, from , was entitled Dreams. It was dedicated to former pupils of Smetana's, who had raised funds to cover medical expenses, and is also a tribute to the composer's models of the s—Schumann, Chopin and Liszt.

The first of these had the purpose, as Smetana explained to his publisher, of "idealising the polka, as Chopin in his day did with the mazurka. Smetana's early songs are settings of German poems for single voice. Apart from his Song of Freedom , he did not begin to write pieces for a full choir until after his Gothenburg sojourn, when he composed numerous works for the Hlahol choral society, mostly for unaccompanied male voices.

His final completed work, Our Song , is the last of four settings of texts by Josef Srb-Debrnov. Despite the state of Smetana's health, this is a happy celebration of Czech song and dance. The piece was lost for many years, and only received its first performance after rediscovery in Apart from a juvenile fantasia for violin and piano, Smetana composed only four chamber works, yet each had a deep personal significance.

This E minor work, subtitled From My Life , was autobiographical in character, illustrating the composer's youthful enthusiasm for his art, his friendships and loves and, in a change of mood, the onset of his deafness represented by a long harmonic E in the final movement above ominous string tremolos.


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Dissatisfied with his first large-scale orchestral work, the D major Overture of , [] Smetana studied passages from Beethoven , Mendelssohn , Weber and Berlioz before producing his Triumphal Symphony of Smetana's visit to Liszt at Weimar in the summer of , where he heard the latter's Faust Symphony and Die Ideale , caused a material reorientation of Smetana's orchestral music. These works gave Smetana answers to many compositional problems relating to the structure of orchestral music, [44] and suggested a means for expressing literary subjects by a synthesis between music and text, rather than by simple musical illustration.

Although a follower of Wagner's reforms of the operatic genre, which he believed would be its salvation, [79] Smetana rejected accusations of excessive Wagnerism, claiming that he was sufficiently occupied with "Smetanism, for that is the only honest style! The first of this final trio, The Kiss , written when Smetana was receiving painful medical treatment, is described by Newmarch as a work of serene beauty, in which tears and smiles alternate throughout the score. She dominated the ailing composer, who had no say in the subject-matter, the voice types or the balance between solos, duets and ensembles.

Smetana's eight operas created the bedrock of the Czech opera repertory, but of these only The Bartered Bride is performed regularly outside the composer's homeland.

After reaching Vienna in , [] and London in , [] it rapidly became part of the repertory of every major opera company worldwide. Newmarch argues that The Bartered Bride , while not a "gem of the first order", is nevertheless "a perfectly cut and polished stone of its kind.

Clapham believes that this has few precedents in the entire history of opera. Even in his own homeland the general public was slow to recognise Smetana.

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As a young composer and pianist he was well regarded in Prague musical circles, and had the approval of Liszt, Proksch and others, but the public's lack of acknowledgement was a principal factor behind his self-imposed exile in Sweden. Smetana's first noteworthy public success was his initial opera The Brandenburgers in Bohemia , in when he was already 42 years old.

His second opera, The Bartered Bride , survived the unfortunate mistiming of its opening night and became an enduring popular triumph. The different style of his third opera, Dalibor , closer to that of Wagnerian music drama, was not readily understood by the public and was condemned by critics who believed that Czech opera should be based on folk-song.

In his final decade, the most fruitful of his compositional career despite his deafness and increasing ill-health, Smetana belatedly received national recognition. Of his later operas, The Two Widows and The Secret were warmly received, [] while The Kiss was greeted by an "overwhelming ovation". Smetana's biographers describe him as physically frail and unimpressive in appearance yet, at least in his youth, he had a joie-de-vivre that women evidently found attractive.

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There is broad agreement among most commentators that Smetana created a canon of Czech opera where none had previously existed, and that he developed a style of music in all his compositions that equated with the emergent Czech national spirit. According to the musicologist John Tyrrell , Smetana's close identification with Czech nationalism and the tragic circumstances of his last years, have affected the objectivity of assessments of his work, particularly in his native land.

Smetana has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. On 2 March , Google celebrated what would have been Smetana's th birthday with a Google doodle.

Event Information

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Smetana disambiguation. Czech composer. Overture: The Bartered Bride. Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 13 August Oxford University Press. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Grove Music Online , ed. Laura Macy. Retrieved 12 May A general assessment might be made on the basis of Smetana's annual salary in , when he was appointed conductor of the Czech Provisional Theatre — 1, gulden. Clapham , p. Grove Music Online, ed. Reportedly the two composers discussed the need for "a modern type of comic opera as a complement to Wagner.

It appears Clapham, , pp. The pronoun had been added by May Large, pp.

Archived from the original on 27 July Retrieved 29 November The Musical Quarterly. Retrieved 24 May Retrieved 10 June Retrieved 3 February — via Google Books. BBC Magazines. Retrieved 2 March String Quartet No. The Bartered Bride film Dalibor film. List of compositions.

Arnim B. Shelley P. Schlegel F. Musical nationalism. Classical music portal Biography portal. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikisource. Main purpose is to accompany violinist kids at diploma level. But would like to explore more options.

I know Bohemia also has upright models and I'm guessing that the price range should be close to Petrof since both are Czech made. The sound is quite nice but a little "muffled" to me..