String Quartet No. 1 (Smetana)

String Quartet No. 1 (Smetana)

String Quartet No. 1 ("From My Life",in Czech: "Z mého života") in E minor, written in 1876, is a four-movement Romantic chamber composition by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana.


After the deaf Smetana moved in 1876 from Prague to 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 Dvořák as 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 viola solo in the very beginning of the first movement, and a high, sustained harmonic E 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
*Largo sostenuto

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 polka style 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] .

"See also: 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

External links

* [ Notes by Joseph Way]
* [ Notes to a performance by the La Jolla Music Society]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • String Quartet No. 2 (Smetana) — Bedřich Smetana s String Quartet No. 2 in D minor is a chamber composition for string quartet. It s Smetana s last quartet.BackgroundIn June 1882, after composing the monumental cycle Má vlast, operas Tajemství, Čertova stěna and other works,… …   Wikipedia

  • String quartet — A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group. The string quartet is one of the most prominent chamber ensembles in… …   Wikipedia

  • List of string quartet composers — Born before 1800= *Giovanni Battista Sammartini (ca. 1700 ndash;1775): wrote several quartets though as with many early works for the medium some of these could be played equally by a small string orchestra. *Christian Cannabich (1731 ndash;1798) …   Wikipedia

  • List of string quartet ensembles — This is a list of recognized string quartets, in alphabetical order. *Adamowski Quartet *Aeolian Quartet *Alban Berg Quartet *Alani Quartet *Alberni Quartet *Allegri Quartet *Alexander Quartet * [] Alma… …   Wikipedia

  • quartet — /kwawr tet /, n. 1. any group of four persons or things. 2. an organized group of four singers or players. 3. a musical composition for four voices or instruments. Also, esp. Brit., quartette. [1765 75; < It quartetto, dim. of quarto < L quartus… …   Universalium

  • Smetana-Quartett — Das Smetana Quartett war ein tschechisches Streichquartett, das von 1945 bis 1989 bestand.[1] Geschichte Das Smetanaquartett entstand aus dem Streichquartett des Tschechischen Konservatoriums, das 1943, während er nationalsozialistischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Smetana, Bedřich — born March 2, 1824, Leitomischl, Bohemia, Austrian Empire died May 12, 1884, Prague Czech (Bohemian) composer. He was determined to become a pianist, but his first concert (1847) ended his hopes, and he thereafter taught music, opening two… …   Universalium

  • Smetana Quartet — The Smetana Quartet was a Czech string quartet that was in existence from 1945 to 1989. Members 1st violin* Václav Neumann (1920 1995), from 1945 to 1947 * Jií Novák (born 1924), since 19472nd violin* Lubomír Kostecký (born 1922)Viola* Jaroslav… …   Wikipedia

  • Bedřich Smetana — Smetana redirects here. For the soured cream, see smetana (dairy product). Bedřich Smetana ( Audio IPA|Cs Bedrich Smetana.ogg| [ˈbɛdr̝ɪx ˈsmɛtana] ; 2 March 1824 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer, one of the most significant that his country has… …   Wikipedia

  • Takács Quartet — The Takács Quartet is a string quartet, originally founded in Hungary, and now based in Boulder, Colorado, United States. History In 1975, four students at the Music Academy in Budapest, Gabor Takács Nagy (first violin), Károly Schranz (second… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.