Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Václav Neumann

Smetana: Mein Vaterland (Ma Vlast)

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While The Moldau has remained one of Bedrich Smetana's greatest hits and is frequently found on pops concert programs, the collection of six symphonic poems that make up Má Vlast (My Fatherland) is less widely performed and recorded, but certainly deserving of much more attention. There are common themes that run through the cycle, so listeners who are already familiar with The Moldau will recognize them in various guises throughout the surrounding sections, and if the work is taken in as a whole, one will acquire a greater sense of Smetana's passionate nationalism and expansive depiction of the Bohemian countryside and history. This 1967 performance by Václav Neumann and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra has long been a staple of Berlin Classics' catalog, and even though the recording is ADD and a little lacking in bass, it has remarkable spatial depth and bright orchestral color, and the clean remastering makes it just as listenable as many later releases.

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