Author Topic: Smetana's Sour Cream Factory  (Read 1081 times)

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Offline Superhorn

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Smetana's Sour Cream Factory
« on: November 08, 2012, 08:17:32 AM »
   I don't recall much discussion of the music of this wonderful Czech composer here . Why "Smetana's sour cream factory"?
Smetana means sour cream in Czech ! 
His music doesn't seem to be played much currently outside the Czech republic, which is a pity, and  quite of few of his works are very little known outside there.  The Moldau (Vltava river) is familiar, but  performances of the whole great Ma Vlast cycle  are rare  .
The only one of his seven operas which is wel known outside the Czech republic is the Bartred Bride, and even that isn't done much today , also a pity.  Thankfully, a Met revival with a new production will not be too long in the to be conducted by James lev ine, health permitting .
    But  his other operas , Dalibor, The Two Widows, The Kiss,   The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, Libuse ( LI- boo-sheh) ,
and The Devil's Wall  are  almost totally unknown  to the general public .  I've heard all of them on  Supraphon recordings , and  have found them all highly enjoyable . 
 I also have the Supraphon recording with Karel Sejna and the Czech Philharmonic, of his one symphony , which unfortunately uses the melody of "Deutschland Uber Allles " as its main theme, of course long before the Nazis  appropriated it for their own nefarious purposes ,and it's  also very much worth hearing . 
    Other interesting orchestral works of Smetana are the symphonic poems "Wallenstein's Camp" and "Richard the Third ".
There is also a remarkable piano piece, laterorchestrated by someone else called "Macbeth and the Witches ", which  uses  strtling 20th century style dissonances .
    Many eminent conductors have recorded the complete Ma Vlast , not only Czech ones : Kubelik, Neumann, Talich, Ancerl, Smetacek,
    Belohlavek, Pesek, Berglund,  Mehta, Macal, Sargent , etc. 
Any other thpoughts here about Smetana ?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Smetana's Sour Cream Factory
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 06:58:43 AM »
"There is a great Man living in this country a composer. He has solved the problem how to preserve one's self and to learn. He responds to negligence by contempt. He is not forced to accept praise or blame. His name is Ives." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Sammy

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Re: Smetana's Sour Cream Factory
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 02:22:31 PM »
   I don't recall much discussion of the music of this wonderful Czech composer here . Why "Smetana's sour cream factory"?
Smetana means sour cream in Czech ! 
His music doesn't seem to be played much currently outside the Czech republic, which is a pity, and  quite of few of his works are very little known outside there.  The Moldau (Vltava river) is familiar, but  performances of the whole great Ma Vlast cycle  are rare  .
The only one of his seven operas which is wel known outside the Czech republic is the Bartred Bride, and even that isn't done much today , also a pity.  Thankfully, a Met revival with a new production will not be too long in the to be conducted by James lev ine, health permitting .
    But  his other operas , Dalibor, The Two Widows, The Kiss,   The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, Libuse ( LI- boo-sheh) ,
and The Devil's Wall  are  almost totally unknown  to the general public .  I've heard all of them on  Supraphon recordings , and  have found them all highly enjoyable . 
 I also have the Supraphon recording with Karel Sejna and the Czech Philharmonic, of his one symphony , which unfortunately uses the melody of "Deutschland Uber Allles " as its main theme, of course long before the Nazis  appropriated it for their own nefarious purposes ,and it's  also very much worth hearing . 
    Other interesting orchestral works of Smetana are the symphonic poems "Wallenstein's Camp" and "Richard the Third ".
There is also a remarkable piano piece, laterorchestrated by someone else called "Macbeth and the Witches ", which  uses  strtling 20th century style dissonances .
    Many eminent conductors have recorded the complete Ma Vlast , not only Czech ones : Kubelik, Neumann, Talich, Ancerl, Smetacek,
    Belohlavek, Pesek, Berglund,  Mehta, Macal, Sargent , etc. 
Any other thpoughts here about Smetana ?

Why haven't you mentioned his chamber music?

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Smetana's Sour Cream Factory
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 07:19:58 PM »
   Oops. I forgot the autobiographical string quartet "From my life")  , which in one section depicts the compoer's growing deafness with a high pitched  note representing ringing in the ear .
George Szell made an orchestration of the quartet, and it has been recorded, by I forget which conductor or conductors.
I belive there is one with  Geoffrey Simon and the LSO.

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