Raphael Kubelik – My Country (Smetana) (1990)

FrontCover1This CD preserves a remarkable concert that marked the return of Rafael Kubelik to Czechoslovakia after an absence of 41 years. The conductor was in ill health, and had been some time. In fact, just after he returned to his native land in 1989, Maestro Kubelik fell seriously ill and it seemed that would die. But he miraculously recovered and conducted this concert on May 12, 1990.

My Country is a work that was very dear to Maestro Kubelik, and one he conducted and recorded it on many occasions. This recording is certainly among the best. From beginning to end there is a sense of occasion, a true celebration of the patriotism that lies behind the music Smetena wrote. There is a passion to the playing by the Czech Philharmonic that truly brings out the poetry and fire in this music, to say nothing of the emotion underlying this performance. The audience is incredibly silent during the performance, as if stunned into silence. The only applause comes at the end of Blanik.
So, even if you already have a recording of Ma Vlast, this one should also be in your collection.

Smetana’s symphonic poem cycle “Ma Vlast” (My Fatherland) based on six movements which, the second is ever-famous “Moldau”. This cycle (as in name) tells about Czechoslovakia’s historic lands and legends. As you know, Moldau is the famous river.

The Vltava PragueThe Vltava in Prague

The other movements are:
1. Vysherad is the castle which protect the capital Prague in 13th century.

3. Sarka is the woman-hero who was lived in 13th century. She was fighted with Frenchs and but their general was fall in love to Sarka. So, she (with her charm) was deceived and then she invited the some of Frenchs for drink wine. Then, all of them (except Sarka) gets drunk and Sarka, secretly was added a poison which make them sleepy. So, all of them sleeps, and then Sarka calls her Czech army with her horn. And gradullay they comes, and all of them kills Frenchs (with their general), while they’re sleeping!

5. Tabor is the army of the country and then 6. Blanik is the contiuation of Tabor. Blanik is the mountain which, the army’s shelter, while they’re waiting the “war alarm”. But, this movement ends with a triumphal finale, which includes the main “Vysherad” and “God’s Warriors” chorale. This work is very succesful example of patriotic music and it is to affect nationalism.

This is the final concert of Rafael Kubelik and he conducted this in his 86th age!
He was reurned in this year after his full succesful years in all Europe and USA in 1940-80’s. “My Fatherland” indeed, absolutely…

Czech Philharmonica Orchestra conducted by Raphael Kubelik

01. Vyschrad /Smetana) 15.40
02. Vlatava (Semetana) 11.35
03. Sarka (Smetana) 9.43
04. Zceskych luhu a hajo (Smetana) 13.09
05. Tabor (Smetana) 12.39
06. Blanik (Smetana) 14.13