March 2, 1824: Czech music titan Bedřich Smetana is born

Bedřich Smetana with his wife Bettina in 1860

One of the greatest names in the history of Czech music, Má vlast composer, Bedřich Smetana, was born exactly 200 years.

Bedřich Smetana (2.3.1824–12.5.1884) is one of the most influential figures in Czech music history, celebrated for his patriotic compositions and significant contributions to the development of Czech musical identity.

Bedřich Smetana Museum | Photo: Barbora Navrátilová,  Radio Prague International

Born in Litomyšl, Eastern Bohemia, Smetana displayed musical talent from an early age, receiving his first music lessons from his father before later moving to Prague to study.

Smetana's oeuvre is characterized by his profound patriotism and deep connection to Czech culture. His compositions, including the symphonic poem Má vlast (My Homeland) and the opera The Bartered Bride, reflect his fervent nationalism and pride in Czech history and folklore. Vltava, a movement from Má vlast, is perhaps his most famous work.

Despite facing personal tragedy and adversity, including the deaths of three of his four daughters and deafness in his later years, the composer remained dedicated to his musical craft, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire musicians and audiences worldwide, two centuries after his birth.

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