Bedrich Smetana was the first major nationalist composer of Bohemia. Probably best known for his opera The bartered bride and of course The Moldau (from ‘My homeland’) most of his orchestral music is rather neglected by the average symphony orchestra.
Smetana’s predilection for anything Bohemian shines through not just in his music but also particularly in the subjects of his symphonic poems and opera. A keen dancer himself, his music often echoes his native dance tunes as well. The composer also had a keen interest in the theatre. Hence the subjects of his early symphonic poems which were based on works by Shakespeare, Schiller and Oehlenschläger. Of his later symphonic poems, the series ‘Má Vlast’, especially ‘Vltava’ (the Moldau) is very well-known.
Of course no orchestra but the Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Theodore Kuchar could play this music better: this is the genuine article. On this release, one can hear the ultimate performances of this most pleasant and vivacious music.