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Premiere of Bedřich Smetana’s Vltava

Premiere of Bedřich Smetana’s Vltava

Premiere of Bedřich Smetana’s Vltava

Originally shared by Memory of Light

Vltava, also known by its German name Die Moldau (or The Moldau), was composed between 20 November and 8 December 1874 and was premiered on 4 April 1875 under Adolf Čech. It is about 13 minutes long, and is in the key of E minor.

The piece contains Smetana’s most famous tune. It is an adaptation of the melody La Mantovana, attributed to the Italian renaissance tenor, Giuseppe Cenci, which, in a borrowed Romanian form, was also the basis for the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah. The tune also appears in major in an old folk Czech song Kočka leze dírou („The Cat Crawls Through the Hole”), Hanns Eisler used it for his „Song of the Moldau”, and Stan Getz performed it as “Dear old Stockholm” (probably through another derivative of the original tune, “Ack Värmeland du sköna”).

Má vlast, meaning „My homeland” in the Czech language) is a set of six symphonic poems composed between 1874 and 1879 by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. While it is often presented as a single work in six movements and – with the exception of Vltava – is almost always recorded that way, the six pieces were conceived as individual works.

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