Notes & Reviews:
In the course of the French Revolution European territories began to harbor a special interest in their own individual identity. The conception of the national state forged ahead, which had significant consequences on their cultural achievements. The world of fairy tales knocked on the doors of the continent and the societies discovered their historical and social roots in recalling their household legends and myths It was the start of the Romantic period which was susceptible to this kind of fantastical narrations and the musical community with its composers and artists happily joined the scene. Consequently it turned into the heyday of program music, when symphonic poems came into being. Composers developed a sophisticated most colorful orchestral sound which perfectly served the purpose of that musical poetry. The orchestra itself took over a kind of protagonists' role by giving birth to pictures and illusions. It is symphonic onomatopoeia- music itself is telling tales by its own means and it is not for no reason that symphonic poems belong to the most popular programs which todays concert halls are still promoting. Smetana's Ma Vlast (My Country) is a resounding proof of this type of music. And it occupies an exceptional position: designed as a cycle and consisting of six individual movements, it turns into one of the largest symphonic poems cycles ever written. Smetana dedicated Ma Vlast to the city of Prague, and it is meanwhile tradition that it will be performed every year on May 12th, the composer's day of death, to open the musical Prague Spring.