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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 people's aspirations to a cultural and political "revival". He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his 1866 opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Fatherland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native Bohemia. It contains the famous symphonic poem "Vltava", also popularly known by its German name "Die Moldau" (in English, "The Moldau").

Smetana was naturally gifted as a composer, and gave his first public performance at the age of six. 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.

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 may 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. His 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 April 2, 1824 (Litomyšl), Died May 12, 1884 (Prague)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1902 - 1938

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 26-50 of 89 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-47903 10-in. 10/1/1928 The Moldau Victor Symphony Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-51035 12-in. 3/18/1929 Quartet in E minor (From my life) Flonzaley Quartet String quartet composer  
Victor CVE-51036 12-in. 3/18/1929 Quartet in E minor (From my life) Flonzaley Quartet String quartet composer  
Victor CVE-51037 12-in. 3/18/1929 Quartet in E minor (From my life) Flonzaley Quartet String quartet composer  
Victor CVE-51038 12-in. 3/18/1929 Quartet in E minor (From my life) Flonzaley Quartet String quartet composer  
Victor CVE-51039 12-in. 3/18/1929 Quartet in E minor (From my life) Flonzaley Quartet String quartet composer  
Victor CVE-51040 12-in. 3/18/1929 Quartet in E minor (From my life) Flonzaley Quartet String quartet composer  
Victor BVE-57268 10-in. 12/17/1929 The bartered bride : Overture Chicago Symphony Orchestra ; Frederick Stock Orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-57269 10-in. 12/17/1929 The bartered bride : Overture Chicago Symphony Orchestra ; Frederick Stock Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-81547 12-in. 1/19/1934 The bartered bride polka Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra ; Eugene Ormandy Orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-81548 10-in. 1/19/1934 Furiant Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra ; Eugene Ormandy Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-81549 12-in. 1/19/1934 Dance of the comedians Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra ; Eugene Ormandy Orchestra composer  
Victor BS-023947 10-in. 6/29/1938 The bartered bride : Overture, part 1 Boston Pops Orchestra ; Arthur Fiedler Orchestra composer  
Victor BS-023948 10-in. 6/29/1938 The bartered bride : Overture, part 2 Boston Pops Orchestra ; Arthur Fiedler Orchestra composer  
Victor [Trial 1916-07-31-03] Not documented 7/31/1916 Dohaz aria Anton Percutka Male vocal solo composer  
Victor [Trial 1918-04-15-05] Not documented 4/15/1918 Bartered bride : Sextette Otakar Cadek Violin solo, with piano composer  
Columbia 4004 10-in. between January and May 1909 The bartered bride : Sextet Prince's Military Band Band composer  
Columbia W98475 12-in. 3/5/1928 Trio in G minor Malkin Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia W98476 12-in. 3/5/1928 Trio in G minor Malkin Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia W98477 12-in. 3/5/1928 Trio in G minor Malkin Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia W98478 12-in. 3/5/1928 Trio in G minor Malkin Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia W98479 12-in. 3/5/1928 Trio in G minor Malkin Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia W98480 12-in. 3/5/1928 Trio in G minor Malkin Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia W98481 12-in. 3/6/1928 Trio in G minor Malkin Trio Instrumental trio composer  
Columbia 6919 12-in. approximately 1916 Bartered bride overture Beecham Symphony Orchestra ; Thomas Beecham Orchestra composer  
(Results 26-50 of 89 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Smetana, Bedřich," accessed June 18, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102111.

Smetana, Bedřich. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102111.

"Smetana, Bedřich." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 18 June 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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