Smetana’s “Ma Vlast” And The Idea Of “Home”
Have you seen this latest photo of our home?
I hope someone is composing some new music, expressing the feeling of that photo, the feeling that renews our sense of what “home” means.
Long before anyone had ever seen earth as a tiny ball, the composer Bedrich Smetana composed some new music to express the feeling of what he saw as “home.” It was the world of Bohemia, in and around the city of Prague. In his time—the late 1800s—he was one of many composers and artists fascinated by the music and culture of their native lands. Smetana’s fascination yielded six “tone poems.” They are orchestral pieces, each about 15 minutes long, composed separately, but comprising a suite, which he called My Homeland (Ma Vlast). Since their first performances, starting in 1875, these sonic gems have delighted audiences and inspired other artists.
Ma Vlast has even inspired work in a new artform in our time—Symphonic Photochoreography! Take a look.
Starting on Thursday, July 25, you can hear each of the six Ma Vlast tone poems individually, in the 9pm hour of my show, which airs Monday through Thursday evenings on NWPR’s Classical Music Service.
In 2021, I’m looking forward to, fingers crossed, live music. I really miss the roar of a symphony orchestra in concert or a soaring soprano on the opera stage. But artists are still making albums, even in lockdown, like British composer Max Richter. His upcoming album is a follow-up to last year’s Voices. This new one is Voices, Part 2 which will be released in April. Continue Reading NPR’s Classical Music Editor Previews 2 Albums You’ll Want To Hear
While streams dominated this chaotic, sorrowful year, musicians continued to lay down official statements in the form of albums. And as the pandemic exploded, the economy cracked, the protests thundered and politics grew even more partisan, the arresting albums listed below became the soundtrack to my 2020 – the best in troubled times. In the order they were released are 12 albums that inspired hope, offered comfort and confrontation and provided much needed escape from a year like no other. Continue Reading Music And Mayhem: A Diary Of Classical Albums For A Troubled 2020
Americans knew Bolling best for a recording project with noted French flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal which contained Bolling’s sparkling “Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano.” The album, which was released by CBS in 1975, remained on Billboard’s classical charts for an astonishing 530 consecutive weeks. Continue Reading Pianist Claude Bolling, Creator Of Popular Jazz/Classical Suites, Has Died