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Ma Vlast is a blast (Hall of Fame #73)

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

And if that title wasn't corny enough for you, here's a joke: I know a Slovakian sound technician, and a Czech one too, a Czech one too. It's a relevant awful joke though because Smetana, the composer of this 73rd-ranked piece was Czech. That's my excuse anyway.

In the words from Classic FM's Hall of Fame, "Ma Vlast is a mighty work, comprising six poems in total; but its popularity is due mainly to the second one, Vltava a beautiful, evocative musical painting of the rolling river that passes through the city of Prague."

It's got an irresistably catchy folk-tune theme, but it often returns in the guise of a new tonality, which keeps things fresh. I appreciated the panache of the Czech Philharmonic's performance - their expressivity doesn't compromise their attention to detail. Some of the quiet sections are deliciously precise, like tip-toeing on a piece of string. It's a lot of fun and you can bet most of the audience went away humming this tune.

[EDIT: This isn't the video I watched, but it got removed from YouTube so here's a replacement]

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