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, director Read more 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: Má Vlast / Järvi, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 06/20/1995   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9366   Number of Discs: 1
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Smetana: Music From The Bartered Bride, Etc / Gianandrea Noseda, Bbc Po
Release Date: 06/30/2009   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10518   Number of Discs: 1
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Dvorak, Smetana: Piano Trios / Borodin Trio
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8445   Number of Discs: 1
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Smetana: The Bartered Bride Overture & Dances, Etc / Simon
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8412   Number of Discs: 1
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Janacek: String Quartets No 1 & 2; Smetana: String Quartet No  1 / Jerusalem Quartet
Release Date: 01/14/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902178   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The Moldau

Browse 1-25 of 134 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Kinda Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Carl Orff,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Woodhouse,  Paul Meyer,  Kolja Blacher,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eduardo Mata,  Gustav Kuhn,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 2.
    Karajan: Orchestra Spectaculars From Handel To Bartok
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633621 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Benjamin Britten,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $79.99
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  • 3.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 4.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $35.49
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  • 5.
    Best Of Classic
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 7016 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Jacques Offenbach,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Patrice Fontanarosa,  Günther Körner,  Thierry Amadi  ... 
    Conductor:  Denise Cloutier,  Frank Shipway,  Libor Pesek,  Arturo Leonard  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 6.
    Dvorak: Symphony 9; Smetana: Moldau / Fricsay [blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001935246 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Bedrich Smetana,  Franz Liszt
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 8.
    Bruno Walter - The Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548952 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Hendl,  John Corigliano Sr.,  Leonard Rose,  Martha Lipton  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Occidental College Consort,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 9.
    De Granados A Kroll
    Label: Doron Music   Catalog: 5041 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Enrique Granados,  Joaquin Turina,  Lili Boulanger,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo d'Alma
    On sale! $15.98
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  • 10.
    Top 50 Favourite Classical Chillout Tunes
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94659 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonín Dvorák,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Klára Würtz,  Sara Crombach,  Wladislav Warenberg,  Alexander Goldenweiser  ... 
    Conductor:  Dirk Vermeulen,  Paavo Järvi,  Roy Goodman,  Gil Sharon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prima La Musica,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hanover Band  ... 
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  • 11.
    Monumental Karajan!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 232892 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Karlheinz Zöller
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $12.99
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  • 12.
    Elgar: Cello Concerto / Bailey, Urbanski
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 34030 Release Date: 01/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Bedrich Smetana
    Performer:  Zuill Bailey
    Conductor:  Krzysztof Urbanski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Aquarelles / Valerie Milot
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 29986 Release Date: 10/02/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Claude Debussy,  Bedrich Smetana,  Marcel Tournier  ... 
    Performer:  Valerie Milot
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  • 14.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
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  • 15.
    Dvorak: Symphony No. 9; Smetana: Die Moldau
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001702402 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Bedrich Smetana
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    CD: $8.99
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  • 16.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 17.
    Kinderklassik: Classical Music For Children, Vol. 2
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300347 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Claude Debussy,  Albert Lortzing  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Rösel,  Hans Sotin,  Georgine Resick,  Gerhard Erber  ... 
    Conductor:  Claus Peter Flor,  Hartmut Haenchen,  Bernhard Klee,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    CD: $22.49
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  • 18.
    Journey Around The World
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55476 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mexican Anonymous,  Arthur Benjamin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Gabriela Montero,  Larry Adler,  Truls Otterbech Mork,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Robinson,  André Cluytens,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 19.
    Brahms: The Four Symphonies; Piano Concerto No. 2
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0190 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Bedrich Smetana
    CD: $14.99
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  • 20.
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5034 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    CD: $19.99
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  • 21.
    Celibidache  Vol 4 - Sacred Music & Opera / Munich Phiharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85617 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Anton Scharinger,  Yaron Windmuller,  Peter Schreier,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir,  Munich Bach Choir
    On sale! $87.98
    CD: $75.99
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  • 22.
    50 Greatest Pieces Of Classical Music / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Pieter Schoeman,  Finghin Collins,  Craig Ogden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 23.
    Best Of Herbert Von Karajan
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82158 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Bedrich Smetana,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $7.99
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  • 24.
    Greatest Hits In Classical Music
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 57031 Release Date: 07/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Magda Bergreich,  Dieter Goldmann,  Helena Spitkova,  Peter Schmalfuss  ... 
    Conductor:  Sidney Lark,  Vladimir Petroschoff,  Ernst Delgado,  Sven Bengston  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Caspar da Salo Quartett
    CD: $12.99
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  • 25.
    Pure... Classical
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7915022 Release Date: 07/05/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Alicia De Larrocha,  André Watts,  Anthony Newman  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Robert Salter,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra,  Tafelmusik,  Brandenburg Collegium
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