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.
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Birth and Death Data: Born March 2, 1824 (Litomyšl), Died May 12, 1884 (Prague)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1902 - 1934
Roles Represented in DAHR: composer
= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 87 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|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Smetana, Bedřich," accessed March 31, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102111.
Smetana, Bedřich. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102111.
"Smetana, Bedřich." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 31 March 2023.
DAHR Persistent Identifier
Wikipedia: Bedřich Smetana
Discogs: Bedřich Smetana
Allmusic: Bedřich Smetana
Apple Music: Bedřich Smetana
Linked Open Data Sources
LCNAR: Smetana, Bedřich, 1824-1884 - http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n50053339
Wikidata: Bedřich Smetana - http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q48173
MusicBrainz: Bedřich Smetana - https://musicbrainz.org/artist/6eb5695e-cf7b-4b94-b441-a09901127ef9
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