1959 Smetana Kubelik Ma Vlast Decca SXL 2064 2065 ED1 WBG Vinyl 2-LP Records VG+. Vinyl / Jacket Grade Per Goldmine Standard: VG+ / VG+ Both Records.Decca Stereophonic SXL 2064 and 2065. Czechoslovakia has produced a large number of excellent composers, three of whom, Smetana, Dvorak. And Janacek, are in the very front rank. Of these, Dvorak is the best-known outside his own country, but.
At home, and particularly in Bohemia, it is Smetana who is the most esteemed. That he is not so highly.Rated abroad is largely because he was primarily an operatic composer. Symphonic works, in which Dvorak.
Excelled, gain a reputation abroad more easily than vocal music, especially when the language concerned is. Of the six symphonic poems comprising the cycle Ma Vlast ("My Country"), Vltava, and, to a slightly.
From Bohemia's Meadows and Forests are often heard abroad, but a complete performance. Of the cycle is a rarity. In Czechoslovakia this cycle is regarded as a national epic. It is necessary to hear all six poems in one concert as the composer intended.
Only Sarka and From Bohemia's. Meadows and Forests are completely independent. The Vysehrad theme reappears in Vltava and Blanik. While Tabor and Blanik are so closely related, both thematically and programmatically, that Smetana.Directed they should not be performed separately. It therefore follows that a performance of individual. Pieces to some extent falsifies the composer's intentions. For example, what significance can the concluding. Section of Vltava, where the Vysehrad theme reappears, have for an audience that has not heard the opening. Md Vlast is not only a great national epic but a symbol of its composer's triumph over the greatest. Affliction that can befall a musician-complete deafness. During 1874, the year he began work on the cycle. Smetana suffered terribly from disordered hearing, being unable to distinguish parts or intervals. Suddenly one night in October he became stone deaf. Undeterred by this terrible blow, however, he con. Tinued working and by 1879 the cycle was complete. The composer's affliction did not cause him to lose. His sensitivity to tone colour. Speaking of Tabor he said the work signified the fervour of faith. In colouring, but I wanted it so. Such is the esteem with which Md Vlast is held in Czechoslovakia that. Every spring it opens the Prague Music Festival. At the approaches to Prague stands a huge rock rising out of the river Vltava. Which means literally "high castle", and it was here that Czech rulers lived in splendour in bygone days. Libuse-the subject of Smetana's great national opera-held court there.
Stylistically there is much in. Common between Libuse and Vysehrad.The following programmatic explanation was written by Vaclav. Zeleny, a critic and staunch supporter of Smetana during the last century, with the composer's full approval. At the sight of the venerable rock Vysehrad the poet's memory is carried back to the remote past and the. Sound of Lumir's harp. There rises the vision of Vysehrad in its ancient splendour, with its gleaming.
Golden crown, the venerable and proud dwelling-place of the Pfemysl kings and princes, filled with the. Here, in the castle, knights assembled at the joyous call of trumpets and cymbals to. Engage in its splendid tourneys; here the warriors gathered for victorious combats, their arms clashing and. Vysehrad was shaken by songs of praise and victory. Perished glory of Vysehrad, the poet now beholds its ruin.
The unbridled passion of furious battles has. Thrown down its lofty towers, fallen are its sanctuaries, and demolished the proud abode of princes. Of songs of triumph and victory Vysehrad quakes at the echo of savage war-cries. Vysehrad is hushed and emptied of all its glory.From its ruins comes the melancholy echo of Lumir's. Song, so long silent and forgotten. Smetana himself did not mention Lumir by name in connection with the work, but referred to the.
Harps and the song of the bards which dealt with the happenings in Vysehrad, the glory and brilliance, the. Tournaments, the battles and the final fall and decay. He added that the work ends on an elegiac note. The work opens with a passage for two harps, but it can be, and often is, played by one only.Very first bar already anticipates the Vysehrad theme with its accent on the second beat. Statement of this theme is given to horns and bassoons, and its repetition to all the woodwind. Trumpet calls suggest a martial atmosphere and these become more insistent once the strings have entered. During the following climax a six-note figure appears, which is put to much use throughout the work. The appearance of the second subject is long delayed. It is a tune in folk-song style, first played by flutes. Oboes and horns, and accompanied by the six-note figure, now extended by two extra notes. Theme is subjected to many modifications which serve to change the character of the music. In the Sumava forest in the south of Bohemia, the Vltava-Czechoslovakia's most important river and. A tributary of the Elbe-has its sources.
Smetana follows its course from its two beginnings, a cool and a. Warm spring, as far as Prague.Running semiquavers, divided between the two flutes, depict the first source. And a little later clarinets suggest the second. A mere trickle soon becomes a small stream as the strings. Join in, and then we hear for the first time the Vltava theme (violins doubled by an oboe).
It is in E minor. But towards the end there is a brief excursion into E major, suggesting the mighty river further downstream. But for the moment we are still in the forest where a hunt is taking place.
Strings, no longer playing the. Theme, depict the river itself, while the wind, particularly horns and trumpets, suggest the sounds of the hunt.
Next we reach a village where a wedding is taking place, and the lively strains of a polka are heard. Descends and in the moonlight Rusalkas or water nymphs-those legendary figures much favoured by.Slavonic mythology-are playing in the water. The scoring here-with its fast-moving passages for flutes. And clarinets, a chordal theme for muted strings in their top register, and the splashes of colour from the. Harp-is both enchanting and very atmospheric. After this episode the Vltava theme is repeated still in. The minor; then suddenly the river's easy flow is broken by the Rapids of St.
Are vividly depicted by the whole orchestra, and especially by the fast-moving strings. To the construction of a dam, these Rapids, formerly situated about twenty miles south of Prague, no longer. This musical outburst then subsides, leading to a final powerful statement of the Vltava theme in the. The small stream has become a mighty river.
As it reaches Prague and flows past Vysehrad, there. Is a majestic statement of the main theme of the first symphonic poem followed by the six-note figure from. Here Smetana ends his journey, watching the Vltava fade away in the distance on its way to. Two loud chords round the work off'. Smetana said of the fin.
F symphonic poem of MciVlasf. This is a continuation of the preceding composition. After their defeat the Hussite Heroes retire into the hollow hill of Blanik and wait, in profound sleep. For the moment when they will come to the help of their country.The same motives as in Tabor also serve. Blanik as the foundation for the structure-i.'Ye who are warriors of God! On the basis of this melody.
(the Hussite motif) the resurrection of the Czech nation, its future happiness and glory develop; with this. Victorious hymn in the form of a march, the composition and thus the whole cycle Md Vlast is concluded. A short idyll is also included in the work as an intermezzo-this is a sketch of the landscape around Blanik. In which a little shepherd-boy rejoices and plays (oboe) and an echo answers him.Also served Fibich for an opera and Janadek for a symphonic poem. Blanik begins, as Tabor ended, with a loud statement of the opening bar of the Chorale. Second phrase follows and in the course of it there is an abrupt change of key. Left the home key so quickly had he wished Blanik to be heard as a separate piece; its tonic has already been. In the long staccato passages heard after this opening the falling third of the Chorale's. Second bar is very prominent. Then comes the pastoral section in which the strings play a very minor role. There is a canon between the oboe and the horn at two bars distance and another, more lengthy one for.
Oboe and clarinet at one bar's distance. The next section makes only slight reference to the Chorale and.
Then Tabor's second main theme is heard on a solo horn and this introduces the march. Which leads to a grandiose statement of the horn theme. After a quieter episode this is repeated, but it now. Leads to a majestic statement of the VySehrad theme, combined with the opening of the Hussite Chorale. Immediately afterwards the Vysehrad theme (on the brass) is combined with the six-note figure that was so.
Prominent in the first symphonic poem. The final coda employs both the main themes from Tabor. This record must be played at 33j- r.
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From Bohemia's meadows and forests. Among the best-known of ancient Czech legends is that of Sarka, a young woman of outstanding. Beauty who, having been scorned by her lover, swore vengeance on men in general, becoming an Amazon.And leading an army of women. The subject later formed the basis of an opera by Fibich and, shortly after, of. Smetana deals with the subject in a concentrated manner. The legend has it that. The queenly Sarka repented of her actions and wished to avert the massacre of Ctirad and his army.
Episode offers much scope to the operatic composer, but here Smetana only hints at it for a few bars. Idea for the work was suggested to him by the district of Bohemia which bears Sdrka's name, but, as he put. It, the composition does not reflect the countryside but action... It begins with a description of the mad. Dened girl, who swears revenge on the entire male generation for the infidelity of her lover.Of the work is heard at the outset. Despite Smetana's references to madness it should not sound hysterical. Smetana's marking, allegro con fuoco, ma non agitato, is important. Particularly the second part of it.
This theme is developed at some length before giving way to a striking. Ctirad and his warriors are approaching to humiliate and castigate the women. Has ordered her followers to bind her to a tree, and presently, against the march tune, a slow-moving theme. For the clarinet depicts Sarka's pretended anguish.
Suddenly the march is interrupted by a phrase on the. The clarinet has a few bars unaccompanied, and the'cellos.The key now changes from minor to major. Ctirad, dumbfounded by Sarka's beauty, immed. Iately falls in love with her and releases her from her bonds. The next section, with its theme on the violins. Doubled by some of the upper woodwinds, comprises the "Jove music".
Then we see the scene in Ctirad's. Camp, where much celebrating, aided and abetted by Sarka, is taking place. This section is in 3/4 and has. The nature of a somewhat gruff dance. Towards the end of it the alcoholic state of Ctirad's army is suggested.
By "wrong" low notes on the second bassoon; a gradual descent depicts the men falling into a drunken. When all is almost quiet Sarka's signal rings out on the horn and is answered in the distance an. Then occurs the brief passage for clarinet in which Sarka regrets her action. Late and with a sudden surge the orchestra rushes into the final section, marked frenetico, which describes. The massacre of Ctirad and his army.
FROM BOHEMIA'S MEADOWS AND FORESTS. Smetana said of this poem that it is a general description of the feelings which the sight of the Czech. From nearly all sides a song both gay and melancholy rings out full of fervour. From the groves and the meadows.
The woodlands (horn solo) and the gay fertile lowlands of the Elbe and. Many, many other parts-everything is remembered in a hymn of praise. Everyone may imagine what he. Chooses when hearing this work-the poet has the field open to him, all he has to do is follow the composition. On another occasion the composer was more explicit, saying that the opening section was meant.
To convey the impression of arriving in the country. There is, however, no similarity to Beethoven's Pas. Smetana's opening is vigorous and scored for full orchestra. The key is G minor. After the climax has been reached, the energy subsides, and against bare fifths from the strings a fragment.Of the tune is heard quietly on the clarinets. From this is derived a theme in the major for oboes and bassoons. Smetana said that it pictured a country girl walking through the fields. Soon the metre changes from 2/4 to 3/4 for a section that is unlike anything else in the whole of Ma. Vlast and forms one of Smetana's supreme achievements as a contrapuntist. The opening part of it is a. Fugue for muted strings, but the music is descriptive. According to the composer it represents the splendour. Of Nature at noon on a summer's day. In the forest there is a deep shadow; only here and there a shaft. Of light pierces the tree-tops. The continuous figure (of ascending quavers) represents the twittering of the. Birds; it persists in all the counterpoint that follows, when the theme for the horns in F major is heard. This was a great contrapuntal task. The horn theme to which Smetana referred is in the. Nature of a folk chorale and is in complete contrast to the fugal theme and its derivatives. And the second time is built up to a big climax, but it is then swept aside by a snatch of a polka which stops.
As abruptly as it began, giving way to a quiet passage in imitative counterpoint for the strings. Polka breaks in, but in another key, and again it abruptly ceases, being followed by the string passage now. At the third attempt the polka triumphs, and the rest of the work, in Smetana's words. "Depicts a harvest festival, or any kind of peasants' merry-making".
There is more ingenious counter. Between Prague and the Austrian frontier lies the old fortress town of Tabor, which was the centre of.
The Hussite movement early in the fifteenth century. In Czech the word "Tabor" means "camp", and even. Today the town shows evidence of its past history in its old fortifications, which are still standing. End of the main square stands a stronghold which is now the Jan Hus museum; from this, underground.
Passages, icy cold even on the hottest day, run under the old town. During the Hussite wars the famous.Chorale Ye, who are warriors of God! Became a patriotic anthem, it is believed to have been written by. Smetana wrote that the whole structure of the composition comes from this majestic. In the main stronghold, in Tabor, this song surely rang out most mightily and most often. Work tells of strong will, victorious fights, constancy and endurance, and stubborn refusal to yield-the. Note on which the composition ends.
The contents of the work cannot be analysed in detail, for it embraces. The Hussites' pride and glory, and their indomitable nature. Much of the music is derived from the first two bars of the Chorale. In the slow opening section.
Smetana begins by using only the first bar of the theme, which consists of repetitions of a single note in the. Rhythm: short - short - long - long.
The second bar, with its predominant falling minor third, is added later. These two elements are treated at length before the appearance of the second main theme which is preceded by. Another chorale-like idea on the woodwind. This second theme is of a triumphant nature and it, too, derives. From the Hussite Chorale, being the tune to which the final verse, "To triumph in the end with Him" is set.
This is treated energetically and expansively until at length the second bar of the Chorale forces its way. The coda (lento maestoso) brings with it a full statement of the Chorale, and the. Poem ends as the rhythm of the opening bar is thundered out.