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Introducing Bedřich Smetana

feat. the Master himself

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Bedřich Smetana is recognised as the first Czech composer to have not only developed a national musical style that reflected the culture of his homeland, but one that was recognised and admired internationally.

This style was inspired by the folk music, history and natural landscapes of his country, and what marked it out as different to what had gone before was the way in which Smetana wasn't just using his country's folk music for the odd burst of atmospheric colour, but instead subsumed it to form an integral part of his musical language. Smetana's career also encompassed performing as a pianist, teaching piano, writing as a music critic, and an eight-year tenure as Principal Conductor of Prague's Provisional Theatre, where he played a crucial role in championing Czech opera. Tragically he had a syphilis-shaped end, the illness first rendering him deaf, and later leading to mental instability. He died in a mental asylum in 1884, but not before he'd transformed the cultural life of his country and paved the musical way for subsequent generations of Czech composers such as Dvořák and Janáček.

Curation: Charlotte Gardner

Speaker: Charlotte Gardner

Visual Art: Philipp Nicolai Hertel

  • Introducing Bedřich Smetana

  • An introduction to Smetana — Má Vlast

  • Má Vlast Preview Only

    Bedřich Smetana

    Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra2005
  • An introduction to Smetana — String Quartet No. 1 in e minor »Aus meinem Leben«

  • String Quartet No. 1 in e minor »Aus meinem Leben« Preview Only

    Bedřich Smetana

    Jerusalem Quartett2013
  • An introduction to Smetana — The Bartered Bride

  • The Bartered Bride Preview Only

    Bedřich Smetana

    Jiri Belohlávek, Dana Burešová, Tomáš Juhás, Jozef Benci, Aleš Voráček, Gustáv Beláček, Lucie Hilscherová, Svatopluk Sem, Stanislava Jirků, Jaroslav Březina, Kateřina Kněžiková, Ondrej Mráz, Maxim Dusek, Babette Rust, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers, Andrew Griffiths2011
  • An introduction to Smetana — Šest Preludií pro varhany

  • Šest Preludií pro varhany Preview Only

    Bedřich Smetana

    Iain Quinn2006
  • An introduction to Smetana — Piano Trio in g minor op. 15

  • Piano Trio in g minor op. 15 Preview Only

    Bedřich Smetana

    Sitkovetsky Trio, Alexander Sitkowetski, Leonard Elschenbroich, Wu Qian2013

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