Journey to Prague with Bedřich Smetana

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 09:28

On Sunday 8 October 2017 the Philharmonia Orchestra, led by Jakub Hrůša, performed Bedřich Smetana’s Má vlast here at Southbank Centre. To give a flavour of their performance, this short animated trailer brings to life Smetana’s ode to his hometown of Prague.

Smetana’s Má vlast, which translates to My Country, is a set of six symphonic poems telling the story of the composer’s treasured Prague. From its ancient high castle, Vysehrad to the winding journey of the river Vltava via woods, water nymphs and rapids; the tale of the warrior Sárka and her quest for revenge against all men; Bohemia’s woods and fields; the Bohemian city of Tábor; and finally, the legendary mountain Blaník, where the knights led by St Wenceslas sleep ready to awake at the call of the country’s gravest hour.

Born in Bohemia, Smetana is perhaps the most favoured, and most celebrated, composer in the Czech Republic, with a museum dedicated to his life and works situated close to Prague’s famous Charles Bridge.

With God’s help and grace, I will be a Mozart in composition and a Liszt in technique
Bedřich Smetana, diary entry

The Philharmonia Orchestra, led by principal guest conductor Jakub Hrůša, performed Dvorák’s Violin Concerto with Hilary Hahn, and Smetana’s Má Vlast in the Royal Festival Hall in October 2017.

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