Sunday, December 30, 2012

Václav Neumann – Smetana – Má vlast

   In the great tradition of Czech composers romanticism has special meaning. In contrast to earlier eras when Czech composers were part of the European multicultural tradition, in the nineteenth century, it became clear that the Czech music has the ambition and power to determine their own style. This was a period of awakening consciousness of European nations and in many countries these processes are carried out with varying degrees of advancement. Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884), who was comprehensive composer of concert and dramatic music, became famous as Czech national opera composer. From his nine operas especially his second The Bartered Bride (Prodaná nevěsta) became famous internationally.
   Most of his instrumental music output has a historic meaning and only rarely becomes a part of concert repertoire. Valuable exception is the famous cycle of six symphonic poems Má vlast (My Country), composed during five years (1974-1879). Sometimes considered as one six-part composition in fact it is collection of six individual poems written under strong impression of Liszt’s symphonic poems. The six Smetana’s poems are linked by a clearly defined style and thematic content. Composer using the romantic means of expression, referring to the Czech melodic idiom, devoted his poems to reflect the images, history and legends of his homeland.

Václav Neumann – Smetana – Má vlast (1968)

   Born in Prague Václav Neumann (1920-1995) recorded perfect performance of Smetana’s cycle with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Before he had a chance to lead the orchestra he was violin and viola player in chamber groups and in Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. After Raphael Kubelik’s resignation in 1948 he had a chance to start his career but he did not accept the proposal. In 1956 he became conductor of Komishe Oper in Berlin. As a conductor Neumann was highly noted for his interpretations of Czech music. From 1964 to 1968 he was conductor of Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. In 1968 he recorded complete cycle of Smetana’s symphonic poems Má vlast. Double LP album published by Telefunken-Decca is one of the best renditions of Smetana’s poems ever recorded.

No comments:

Post a Comment