Bedrich Smetana: Má Vlast (1998)
Classical | EAC (APE & CUE) | 402 MB
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Many nationalistic works have been produced and forgotten over the ages, ranging from the outright descriptive (Ferde Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite
) to the subtly evocative (Isaac Albéniz's Iberia
). Yet, none packs the same punch of a bedrock nationalistic fervor – at least with its intended audience – as Smetana's Má Vlast
. And who could have known better than Smetana that musical spur and chauvinistic pride (aka "patriotism") could form such a powerful bond? After all, who doesn't respond to his or her national anthem with an involuntary lump in the throat, a quickening of the pulse, watering of the eyes or a symbolic gesture to a call of action? This particular recording of Smetana's Má Vlast
, conducted by Kubelik, is especially poignant since it was released just when the "velvet revolution" marked the end of the Communist rule. Kubelík himself emerged from years of illness and retirement to return home and open the 1990 Prague Festival with, of course, Má Vlast
. Reunited for the first time in 42 years, the Czech Philharmonic plays for its former leader with breathtaking focus, transcendent eloquence and a palpable aura of deep, abiding love that channels and conveys the intense emotions Smetana himself must have felt in transforming his maddening prisons of silence and din into a torrent of fervor for his country and his people. I'm about to piss my pants merely thinking about it.
Happy holiday, Flush. This one's for you. I even went out of my usual way to scan the damn covers just for you!