Smetana, Bedrich

Bedrich Smetana
March 2, 1824 – May 12, 1884

Bedrich Smetana, a talented pianist, was known not only for his skillful compositions, but also as a symbol of Czech dreams of independence. While most critics cite fellow countryman Dvorak as a stronger composer, Smetana had a deeper impact on the psyche of his nation.

Smetana began learning music at home. His father taught violin, and passed his knowledge to his son. The eager Smetana also absorbed everything he could about composition, harmony, and the keyboard. Later Smetana began teaching at court while he continued to publish when he could. He founded a piano school, and it was from these exploits that his reputation grew.

At the same time Bohemia gained some autonomy, and the public longed for a distinct voice to represent it. Smetana supplied this in The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, and The Bartered Bride. These pieces, while not popular at once, later became his most celebrated works.

Later the public became resentful of the inspiration Smetana drew foreign composers. His work diminished, although he still composed, even after going deaf in 1874. He died within an asylum in 1884.

Smetana’s was deeply respected as the voice of a developing nation, and is held in high regard today.

Notable works:
The Bartered Bride
Má vlast
From My Life