Bedrich Smetana

Composition Types

Biography

Born: Mar 2, 1824; Czech Republic   Died: May 12, 1884; Czech Republic   Period: Romantic
Bedrich Smetana was one of the great composers of his country's history and one of the leaders of the movement toward musical nationalism. His father was a violin teacher who gave Bedrich his first lessons and referred him to keyboard, harmony, and composition lessons when the boy requested them. His father tried to get Bedrich to apply himself in academics, but Bedrich was too focused on music to be a good student.
Bedrich Kittl,
Read more director of the Prague Conservatory, in 1844 found Smetana a job as a music teacher to the family of Count Leopold Thun while continuing music studies. He remained with the count for three and a half years, but he quit to undertake a concert tour, which turned out to be a financial failure.
Franz Liszt aided Smetana in finding a publisher for some early piano music and in 1848, Smetana founded a successful piano school.
Although he established a strong local reputation as a pianist, his piano compositions (mostly lighter works) did not earn him any special distinction as a composer.
In 1860, the Austro-Hungarian Empire granted internal political autonomy to Bohemia. A movement began to search for a genuine Czech voice in arts, including the establishment of a national theater. In 1862-1863, Smetana composed The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, his first opera, which was a success at its premiere on January 5, 1866. His next opera was Prodaná nevesta (The Bartered Bride), his most famous and enduring opera today, but a failure when it premiered on May 30, 1866.
In 1866, Smetana became conductor of the Provisional Theater, re-forming its administration and attempting to raise standards. His next opera, Dalibor (1871), was criticized for its Wagnerian elements. He had also written Libuse, but could find no producer. But in 1874, he had a large success with a light, popular opera, The Two Widows.
However, a severe whistling in the ears (graphically depicted in his autobiographical string quartet From My Life) led to deafness by the end of that year, symptoms of tertiary syphilis. He continued to compose and wrote his orchestral masterpiece Má Vlast (My Country) from 1874 to 1879. Three more operas were premiered successfully, including Libuse, but the last was The Devil's Wall (1882). By now, Smetana was seriously ill. The brain damage from syphilis led to madness, and he was confined to an asylum where he died. National mourning was proclaimed and he was given a burial at the Vyshehrad, one of the national sites depicted in Má Vlast. Read less
Smetana: Ma Vlast / Davis, London Symphony
Release Date: 10/11/2005   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 61   Number of Discs: 1
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Beecham Collection - Smetana, Verdi, Mozart, Et Al
Release Date: 02/27/2001   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 8   Number of Discs: 1
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Beecham Collection - Smetana: The Bartered Bride
Release Date: 10/24/2006   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 14   Number of Discs: 2
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Mozart, Smetana, Etc: String Quartets / Skampa Quartet
Release Date: 01/22/2008   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 19   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Bartered Bride Overture

Browse 51-58 of 58 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Meditations For Spring - Copland, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7049 Release Date: 03/21/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Domenico Cimarosa,  Lennox Berkeley  ... 
    Performer:  John Anderson
    Conductor:  William Boughton,  Simon Wright,  Gerard Claret,  Monica Huggett  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  English String Orchestra,  Andorra National Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 52.
    Erich Kleiber Dirigiert Vol 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90287 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Georges Bizet,  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra
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  • 53.
    An Evening With The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68860 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Emil Waldteufel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Leonard Pennario
    Conductor:  Felix Slatkin,  Carmen Dragon,  Miklós Rózsa,  Earl Bernard Murray  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Dvorák: Violinkonzert, Symphonie No 9 / Karel Ancerl
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 395951 Release Date: 08/04/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Art Of Classics - Beruhmte Ouverturen Und Zwischenspiele
    Label: Intercord Klassische Diskothek   Catalog: 25929 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Bedrich Smetana  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Zanotelli,  Gunter Neidlinger,  George Randolph Warren,  Carl-August Bünte  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Philharmonic Orchestra,  Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 56.
    Virtuoso Orchestral Music - Mozart, Rossini, Smetana, Et Al
    Label: Intercord Saphir   Catalog: 830899 Release Date: 04/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Harald Genzmer,  Bedrich Smetana  ... 
    Conductor:  Wojciech Rajski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 57.
    Slavonic Festival / Kosler, Pesek, Stankovsky, Wordsworth
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550376 Release Date: 12/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Leos Janácek,  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Libor Pesek,  Zdenek Kosler,  Robert Stankovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 58.
    Smetana: The Bartered Bride Overture & Dances, Etc / Simon
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8412 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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