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Bedřich Smetana

Bedřich Smetana ( BED-ər-zhikh SMET-ə-nə, Czech: [ˈbɛdr̝ɪx ˈsmɛtana] (listen); 2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style that became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Homeland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native Bohemia. It contains the famous symphonic poem "Vltava", also known by its English name "The Moldau".

Smetana was naturally gifted as a composer, and gave his first public performance at the age of 6. After conventional schooling, he studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. His first nationalistic music was written during the 1848 Prague uprising, in which he briefly participated. After failing to establish his career in Prague, he left for Sweden, where he set up as a teacher and choirmaster in Gothenburg, and began to write large-scale orchestral works. During this period of his life Smetana was twice married; of six daughters, three died in infancy.

In the early 1860s, a more liberal political climate in Bohemia encouraged Smetana to return permanently to Prague. He threw himself into the musical life of the city, primarily as a champion of the new genre of Czech opera. In 1866 his first two operas, The Brandenburgers in Bohemia and The Bartered Bride, were premiered at Prague's new Provisional Theatre, the latter achieving great popularity. In that same year, Smetana became the theatre's principal conductor, but the years of his conductorship were marked by controversy. Factions within the city's musical establishment considered his identification with the progressive ideas of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner inimical to the development of a distinctively Czech opera style. This opposition interfered with his creative work, and might have hastened a decline in health that precipitated his resignation from the theatre in 1874.

By the end of 1874, Smetana had become completely deaf but, freed from his theatre duties and the related controversies, he began a period of sustained composition that continued for almost the rest of his life. His contributions to Czech music were increasingly recognised and honoured, but a mental collapse early in 1884 led to his incarceration in an asylum and subsequent death. Smetana's reputation as the founding father of Czech music has endured in his native country, where advocates have raised his status above that of his contemporaries and successors. However, relatively few of Smetana's works are in the international repertory, and most foreign commentators tend to regard Antonín Dvořák as a more significant Czech composer.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 2nd, 1824 (Litomyšl), Died May 12th, 1884 (Prague)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1902 - 1934

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 77 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-4634 10-in. 7/3/1907 Comedian's march Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor C-6950 12-in. 3/31/1909 Bartered bride : Overture Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor C-7025 12-in. 4/30/1909 Ich weiss euch einen liebe Schatz Johanna Gadski ; Albert Reiss Vocal duet (soprano and tenor), with piano composer  
Victor C-8942 12-in. 5/11/1910 Aus der Heimat Fritz Kreisler Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-9352 12-in. 8/17/1910 O was ich mich betrub Mischa Ferenzo Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-9419 10-in. 9/12/1910 Mařenka a Komedianty České Trio z Prahy Instrumental trio composer  
Victor B-9438 10-in. 9/13/1910 s Prodané nevěsty České Trio z Prahy Instrumental trio composer  
Victor B-10329 10-in. 5/15/1911 Prodná nevěsta : March Kryl's Bohemian Band Band composer  
Victor C-10340 12-in. 5/16/1911 Bartered bride : Sextette Kryl's Bohemian Band Band composer  
Victor C-10355 12-in. 5/18/1911 Bartered bride : Selection Kryl's Bohemian Band Band composer  
Victor C-10361 12-in. 5/19/1911 Libušse overture Kryl's Bohemian Band Band composer  
Victor B-10807 10-in. 7/19/1911 Bohemian cradle song Alma Gluck Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-11492 10-in. 1/24/1912 Vaška a Mařenky Hanna Foerster ; Bohumil Pták Vocal duet (soprano and tenor), with orchestra composer  
Victor B-11493 10-in. 1/24/1912 Věrné naše milování Hanna Foerster ; Bohumil Pták Vocal duet (soprano and tenor), with orchestra composer  
Victor B-18887 10-in. 12/28/1916 Dve ukolebavky Emilie Bosse Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-21139 10-in. 12/5/1917 Prodaná nevĕsta George Dostal Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-21821 10-in. 5/3/1918 Z svých písní trůn František A. Pangrác Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-22418 10-in. 11/13/1918 Kdo v zlate struny zahrat zna František A. Pangrác Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-22513 10-in. 1/13/1919 Nekamenujte proroky František A. Pangrác Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-23548 12-in. 12/23/1919 Allegro moderato a la polka Flonzaley Quartet String quartet composer  
Victor C-23786 12-in. 3/26/1920 Ukolébavka Ema Destinnová Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-33596 10-in. 10/21/1925 Bartered bride : March Czecho-Slovak National Band Band composer  
Victor BVE-47900 10-in. 10/1/1928 The Moldau Victor Symphony Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-47901 10-in. 10/1/1928 The Moldau Victor Symphony Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-47902 10-in. 10/1/1928 The Moldau Victor Symphony Orchestra Orchestra composer  
(Results 1-25 of 77 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Smetana, Bedřich," accessed August 2, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102111.

Smetana, Bedřich. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102111.

"Smetana, Bedřich." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 2 August 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102111

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