Piano works by Bedřich Smetana

Miroslav Sekera

Czech composer Bedřich Smetana is probably best-known for his set of symphonic poems Má Vlast, or My Country, as well as for his folkloristic operas and string quartets. However, the Czech music great has also written a number of piano compositions. Czech pianist Miroslav Sekera recently released an album dedicated to Smetana’s piano works, confronting them with those by Franz Liszt.

Miroslav Sekera | Photo: Miroslav Polach,  Czech Radio

"Smetana's compositions are not as well-known as Franz Liszt's works, and yet in many cases they are true piano masterpieces of the 19th century. I would like to prove that Bedřich Smetana was a composer comparable with Franz Liszt and that his music deserves to be performed at major concert venues worldwide."

It was with this goal in mind that Miroslav Sekera recorded the album, simply called Bedřich Smetana and Franz Liszt: Piano Works.

The connection between the two composers is not accidental: both were excellent pianists and the piano played an important role, especially at the beginning of their artistic careers.

Liszt was a great role model for Smetana, as evidenced by a note in his diary: "With God's help and grace I shall one day be a Liszt in technique and a Mozart in composition."

Nine-year-old Miroslav Sekera in the role of little Mozart in the Oscar-winning film "Amadeus" by director Miloš Forman | Photo: Warner Bros.

Miroslav Sekera has been playing the piano since the age of three. It was only a little later that he began to learn the violin. Thanks to his ability to play the piano and violin at the same time, he was chosen to play the role of little Mozart in the Oscar-winning film "Amadeus" by director Miloš Forman. Today, he regularly collaborates with the best Czech orchestras and festivals.

In today’s edition of Sunday Music Show, you will hear Smetana’s piano poem Macbeth and the Witch, etudes On the Sea Shore and the cycle of Bagatelles and Impromptus.

Author: Ruth Fraňková