Title - 'Má Vlast'
Artist - Smetana,Jiří Bělohlávek & Czech Philharm
For those not in the know, Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which 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, which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native land.
Jiří Bělohlávek CBE was a Czech conductor. He was a leading interpreter of Czech classical music, and became chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1990, a role he would serve on two different occasions during a combined span of seven years.
He also served a six-year tenure as the chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 2006 to 2012.
He gained international renown and repute for his performances of the works of Czech composers such as Antonín Dvořák and Bohuslav Martinů, and was credited as "the most profound proponent of Czech orchestral music" by Czech music specialist Professor Michael Beckerman.
Released via Decca Classics this past February 23rd, 2018, Má Vlast has been brought out again, this time as rather stunning Japanese SHM-CD pressing.
Mŕ Vlast (My Homeland)
No. 1, Vyšehrad (The High Castle)
No. 2, Vltava (The Moldau)
No. 3, Šarka
No. 4, Z ceských luhu a háju (From Bohemia's Meadows and Forests”
No. 5, Tábor
No. 6, Blaník
Re-released in memoriam to the great, Jiří Bělohlávek, we once again get to hear the wondrous Czech conductor and his beloved orchestra perform a definitive 'Má Vlast'.
In one of his last recording with the Czech Philharmonic, Jiří Bělohlávek conducts a heartfelt account of Smetana's great set of symphonic poems. Indeed, this is an authoritative recording of 'Má Vlast' performed by musicians with an innate understanding of the music of their homeland.
Listening to it all unfold, the always-beautiful Czech Philharmonic play with emotion, somewhere between very romantic and dramatic, but somewhere glorious at the very same time.
Smetana's symphonic poem cycle is based on six movements which, the second is ever-famous as "The Moldau". This cycle (as in name), tells about Czechoslovakia's historic lands and legends. Known as a very famous river there, it is also my own personal favourite of the pieces.
"Blanik" is yet another incredible movement and tells the story of a mountain which becomes the army's shelter while they're awaiting the "war alarm". But this movement ends with a triumphant finale, which includes the main "Vysherad" and "God's Warriors" chorale also. Stunning, simply stunning, even today.
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