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The Moldau , Czech Vltava, symphonic poem by Bohemian composer Bedřich Smetana the evokes the flow of the Vltava River—or, in German, the Moldau—from its source in the hills of the Bohemian Forest, through the Czech countryside, to the city of Prague. A devoutly patriotic work, The Moldau records in music Smetana’s love the his homeland. Completed in 1874 and an initial performed the adhering to year, the piece constitutes the 2nd movement that a six-movement suite, Má vlast (My Country), which premiered in its totality in Prague on November 5, 1882.

Smetana conceived that a collection of orchestral pieces v topics attracted from the legends and landscapes of his homeland, what he dubbed “musical pictures of Czech glories and also defeats.” It took the much better part that the 1870s because that the composer to bring the idea to complete fruition together Má vlast. Each activity of the suite is a self-standing symphonic poem with its very own program (story). In the order of your placement within the suite, the motions portray chivalrous deeds in ~ a medieval castle (Vyšehrad); a river journey v scenes the rural life (Vltava); the legendary revenge the a spurned maiden (Šárka); the fields and also woods along the Elbe flow (Z c̆eských luhů a hájů); the perseverance the Czech warrior (Tábor); and also the reminder the their ultimate return in win (Blanik).


Smetana, Bedřich
Bedřich Smetana.

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Courtesy the the royal College of Music, London

Má vlast ultimately came to be Smetana’s many enduring composition, and also of the movements, the second, The Moldau, has actually remained the most popular. The motion starts through light, rippling figures that stand for the development of the Moldau River together two mountain springs, one warm and one cold. Water native the springs climate combines to end up being a mighty river, symbolized by a more thick orchestrated, stately template that recurs periodically throughout the remainder the the work. Farther downstream, the flow passes jubilant hunters, portrayed by a horn melody, and then passes a town wedding, signaled through a passage in polka rhythm. The flow then beginning a gorge where, according to legend, water nymphs—suggested through serene and mysterious melodies—come the end to bathe in the moonlight. Through the morning light, the key river template returns, though it shortly breaks right into tumultuous dissonance together the flow enters the St. John’s Rapids. Beyond the white water, the flow reaches Prague, where to cool arpeggios that a regal hymn, that flows past the lock Vyšehrad, when the seat of strength for Bohemian kings. ~ fading to a trickle, the piece—and the journey—comes come an unambiguous close v a according to two-chord cadence.