- Petr Popelka (Dirigent)
8th symphony concert
Conducted by: Petr Popelka
Má vlast (My Fatherland) JB 1:112
Six Symphonic Poems
Smetana's Má vlast is more than just a symphonic cycle – it is a confession, a desire, a declaration of love for an entire people. The Czech composer has cast myths, religion, history, heroes, and landscapes into the language of sound. He brings them to life by working magic with melodies, harmonies, and timbres, by contrasting drama with lyrical poetry, but also by using folkloric elements to give the music its unmistakably Bohemian stamp.
When Smetana visited Franz Liszt in Weimar in 1857, he found himself encouraged to venture down individual paths. And indeed, for all his inspiration from the master and especially, of course, from Liszt's very own format of the symphonic poem, he soon found his very own concept of narrative symphonic music. One could say that he has emancipated himself from his role model, when, despite all his references to extra-musical aspects, he always emphasises the musical over the narrative aspect. Smetana's compositions, and by no means only the famous Moldau, are captivating because of their rousing musical flow and their pictorially sensual power. When asked about specific programmes, however, he remained reserved: "The feelings at the sight of the Bohemian landscape await – but everyone can imagine it all as they please."