Smetana: Má vlast

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Mercury
WORKS: Má vlast
PERFORMER: Chicago SO/Rafael Kubelík
CATALOGUE NO: 434 379-2 ADD mono (1952)
Kubelík’s 1952 performance of Má vlast is enormously vivid. Smetana’s symphonic dramatisation of his nation’s history, mythology and countryside inspired the 38-year-old conductor, by then in self-imposed exile from Czechoslovakia, to astonishing heights of passion. If it lacks the inspired lucidity of Talich’s 1954 recording and the burning intensity of Kubelík’s own last performance, recorded at the Prague Spring Festival of 1990, the performance remains, despite a perceptible hiss and some aggressive, poorly tuned harp playing in ‘Vysehrad’, highly recommendable. Jan Smaczny