Bedřich Smetana

Overture to The Bartered Bride

            Smetana’s most familiar composition in this country is probably The Moldau, and now we encounter what is surely his other popular “American hit”—and deservedly so.  Smetana was the first great Czech composer of the nineteenth century, and—owing to the general trend towards nationalism during the late romantic period—the first significant Czech composer to integrate indigenous folk elements into his musical style.  He is known the world over for having composed what is more or less the Czech national opera, The Bartered Bride (1866), a delightful comedic opera that is performed almost every year in Prague to the enchantment of tourists and natives, alike.  While the world of opera today is a diverse one, during the early and middle nineteenth century, it was

The Moldau (Vltava)

            Smetana is the first great Czech composer of the nineteenth century, and—owing to the general trend towards nationalism during the late romantic period—the first significant Czech composer to integrate indigenous folk elements into his musical style.  He is known the world over for having composed what is more or less the Czech national opera, The Bartered Bride, as well as a wealth of other works.   He exerted a significant influence on his younger colleague, Antonín Dvořák, and along with the latter, is honored with his own museum in present-day Prague.   The tone poem for orchestra, a distinctive creation of the progressive wing of composers during the nineteenth century, may be said to be the brainchild of Franz Listz, and in 1857 Smetana visited Liszt in Weimar