- String Quartet No. 1 (Smetana)
After the deaf Smetana moved in 1876 from
Pragueto Jabkenice, he hoped, that his handicap wouldn´t be permanent. In autumn of that year he began to compose a new, important work. It was to be the composer's intimate confession, a work depicting in notes the course of his life "... using four instruments speaking among themselves in something like a friendly circle" [Score, p. VII] .
The composition was finished on 29 December 1876, ideological conception and the features of individual movements Smetana formulated in a letter to his friend Josef Srba.
It was given a private premiere in 1878 in Prague with
Antonín Dvořákas violistFact|date=July 2008, and its public premiere took place on 29 March 1879, played by Ferdinand Lachner, Jan Pelikán, Josef Krehan and Alois Neruda.
It is semi-autobiographical and composed of sketches of parts of Smetana's life, as is suggested by its subtitle Z mého života ("From My Life"). Its notable features include a prominent
violasolo in the very beginning of the first movement, and a high, sustained harmonicE on the first violin in the last movement, which represents the ringing presage of his deafness in Smetana's ears (though the actual ringing was a chord of A).
The work was published in 1880 by Fr. Urbánek in Prague.
The cycle consists of four movements:
*Allegro vivo appassionato
*Allegro moderato à la Polka
The first movement is the expression of composer´s inclination to the romantic ideals in life and in his music. In the second movement the
polkastyle recalls the memories of his youth, happy and convivial. The third movement is of great emotional depth, it´s a apotheosis to love in overcoming the adversity of fate and finding harmony in life. In the last movement composer describes the journey to understanding the real essence of national art, interrupted by disaster - the beginning of the deafness. The end is almost resigned, with only a small ray of hope for better future [Score, p. VIII] .
List of compositions by Bedřich Smetana"
Bedřich Smetana: "Quartetto I. Mi minore. Z mého života. Score." Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1991. S 7676. ISBN 80-7058-286-3
* [http://www.fuguemasters.com/smetana.html Notes by Joseph Way]
* [http://www.la-jolla-music-society.com/content/view/363/107/ Notes to a performance by the La Jolla Music Society]
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