180 Gram Vinyl! Smetana's Symphonic Poem!
Smetana’s symphonic poem “Má Vlast“ consists of several individual
compositions which the composer put together at a later date to form a cycle and
is one of the greatest testimonies to Czech national music. The Bohemian
countryside and sagas are reflected in the tone poem From “Bohemia’s Woods and
Fields“, while the programmatic “Moldau“ occupies a rightful place among the
most outstanding works to have been written in the late 19th century. Thanks to
its popular folk melodies, its clearly structured and recognizable “programme“,
and brilliant orchestration, the work has never failed to arouse the enthusiasm
of a wide public.
Czechoslovakia has produced a large number of excellent composers, three of
whom, Smetana, Dvorak and Janacek, are in the very front rank. Of these, Dvorak
is the best-known outside his country, but at home, and particularily in
Bohemia, it is Smetana who is the most esteemed. That he is not so highly rated
abroad is largely because he was primarily an operatic composer. Symphonic
works, in which Dvorak excelled, gain a reputation more easily than vocal music,
especially when the language concerned is a Slavonic one.
Rafael Kubelik conducted numerous first-class orchestras both in the concert
hall and in the recording studio, and won a deserved reputation as the Smetana
connoisseur. He is to be congratulated on his choice of the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra for this recording: gentle and transparent in the gossamer-light
orchestral passages, powerful and smooth when playing as a full tutti. This
thoroughly satisfying performance is further enhanced by its excellent recording
technique and is to be recommended to all collectors.
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Rafael Kubelik, conductor
Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884)
4. From Bohemia's Meadows and Forests