Stamp of the Month: March 2024

Bedřich Smetana

The Czech composer Bedřich Smetana was born on March 2, 1824 in Litomyšl and died on May 12, 1884 in Prague. March 2024 will be the 200th anniversary of his birthday.
Smetana began taking violin and piano lessons at the age of four. After attending high school, he studied piano and composition in Prague from 1843 to 1847 and also worked as a music teacher. In 1848 he opened his own private music school with the help of his friend Franz Liszt.

Czechoslovakia 4.6.1949

Czech Republic 14.2.2024
Allegorical illustrations for the cycle “My Fatherland”

In 1856 Smetana left his homeland for political reasons and headed the Philharmonic Society in Gothenburg for five years. After his return he supported the Czech national movement and led the Hlahol patriotic singing society from 1863 to 1865. From 1865 to 1869 he conducted the Czech Philharmonic concerts, worked as a music critic for the newspaper Národní listy in 1864/1865 and was first conductor of the Czech interim theater České Prozatimní Divadlo from 1866 to 1874. When he fell ill in 1874, he retreated to the countryside to compose.
Bedřich Smetana composed eight operas, of which “The Bartered Bride” (1866) and the Czech national opera “Libussa” (1869–1872) are the most famous. In addition to the six-part cycle “My Fatherland,” he composed four other orchestral works, chamber music, piano music and three works for organ.

The video shows the symphony orchestra of the Kranj High School (Slovenia) under the direction of Nejc Avbelj with the symphonic poem “The Moldau” (Czech: Vltava) from the cycle “My Fatherland” (Má vlast) by Bedřich Smetana.