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The sound, the name, the first international successes, as well as the first recordings made by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, are inseparably linked with the name of Václav Talich. The recordings contained on this CD originated under truly exceptional circumstances and document unrepeatable moments.
The performance of Smetana’s My Country on 5 June 1939 in Nazi-occupied Protectorate Prague – and what’s more, at the National Theatre, perceived as a symbol of national cohesion – was an expressive manifestation of Talich’s patriotism. The moment’s sheer emotional charge gave rise to what may justly be considered the conductor’s finest recording of My Country and, following a long-lasting ovation, the enthusiastic audience spontaneously rounded off the concert by singing the Czech national anthem.
The presented recording of this concert and that of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, which was performed at the National Theatre four days later, have been preserved owing to their direct transmission to several European cities. The recording was made by Radio Norway, which possessed the most advanced audiorecording technology of the time. Talich’s My Country, exuding defiance and a resolve to protect freedom, stands in stark contrast to Rafael Kubelík’s legendary 1990 My Country, which reflects the euphoria at the regaining of freedom. This recording, first released by the Czech Philharmonic, was hailed by the distinguished critic Rob Cowan in Gramophone magazine as perhaps the most powerful My Country to have ever been recorded.
The radio introductory announcement, June 5, 1939
SMETANA - My Country - I Vysehrad
SMETANA - My Country - II Vltava
SMETANA - My Country - III Sarka
SMETANA - My Country - IV From Bohemian Fields and Groves
SMETANA - My Country - V Tabor
SMETANA - My Country - VI Blanik
Czech National Anthem - audience singing
The original sign off
The radio introductory announcement, June 13, 1939
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Series II, Op. 72 - I B major. Molto vivace
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Op. 72 - II E minor. Allegretto grazioso
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Op. 72 - III F major. Allegro
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Op. 72 - IV D flat major. Allegretto grazioso
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Op. 72 - V B flat minor. Poco adagio
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Op. 72 - VI B flat major. Moderato
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Op. 72 - VII C major. Allegro vivace
DVORAK - Slavonic Dances, Op. 72 - VIII A flat major. Grazioso e lento, ma non troppo
Czech National Anthem
The original sign off
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