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Smetana’s cycle “My Country” is a pinnacle of symphonic literature. There is nothing quite like it: six musical poems which, while independent of each other, form an organic whole.
As a composer, Smetana was in the vanguard. This visionary work is unmistakably personal, connected to the Czech nation’s tragic history and to the Bohemian-Moravian landscape; it is not only about memory, it also gives hope for the future, brilliantly describing landscapes of the human soul. As such it goes beyond time, to create something of lasting significance. This is music of nostalgia, which sets thoughts and emotions free.
After hearing “My Country”, one emerges stronger. Every one of these six pieces has a tremendous energy, and enables one to live with melancholy and sorrow: the work transforms the listener and enriches the soul.
Bedřich Smetana: Má vlast (My Country), JB 1:112
No. 1. Vysehrad (The High Castle)
No. 2. Vltava (Moldau)
No. 3. Sarka
No. 4. Z ceskych luhu a haju (From Bohemia's Woods and Fields)
No. 5. Tabor
No. 6. Blanik
“Jakub Hrůša has an enviable reputation in Czech repertoire and his reading of My Country has great merit…there is a great deal to admire especially in capturing orchestral detail, aided by a vivid recording”
“[Hrůša] paints the landscape vividly, whether the rapids of St John’s or the dark shadows of Bohemia’s meadows and forests…[in the final two movements] we find raw energy, theatricality and, perhaps most strikingly, pathos…recommended.”