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Something Wonderful: The Moldau Two Ways — Solo and Ensemble


Sadikova at 16 years of age (!).


Smetana uses tone painting to evoke the sounds of one of Bohemia’s great rivers. In his own words: The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer’s wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night’s moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces, and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John’s Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the VyÅ¡ehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Elbe.

0:00 The warm spring (1st flute): the source of the Vltava.
0:29 The cold spring (2nd flute): the two brooks meet and form the Vltava.
1:11 Vltava: the main theme.
3:15 Hunters’ horns: the river passes through a forest hunt.
4:10 Polka: a village wedding dance by the river.
5:49 Rusalka: beautiful water nymphs in ancient Czech legends, bathing in the river by the moonlight. Muted strings, flutes, harps and horns. Calm yet mysterious.
9:04 Return to the main theme
10:03 Our river enters the raging St. John Rapids. Stormy and turbulent.
11:19 Main theme recap. Having cleared the rapids, now in a bright and cheerful major key.
11:45 Vyšehrad theme: the Vltava salutes the great castle, seat of the Czech nation. Cymbals. Goosebumps.
12:41 The music slowly fades away as our river says farewell and flows on into the distance, as it always has since time immemorial.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John Venlet August 7, 2022, 9:23 AM

    Bravo! Both pieces are perfect listening for a Sunday afternoon.

  • james wilson August 7, 2022, 11:55 AM

    That is white nationalism expressed in music. Terrible thing! The Czecks were ever only a small nation among behemoths, but they stayed Czeck. Then Sebelius wrote a national song for another small insignificant nation, bullied by a behemoth, and the Russians banned it. We are getting so much better at banning things, and so much poorer at creating things.

  • OneGuy August 7, 2022, 1:02 PM

    I had to watch it twice to see the harp.

  • jd August 7, 2022, 1:15 PM

    Thank you, Gerard.

  • ThisIsNotNutella August 7, 2022, 1:35 PM

    Not bad.. not bad… Except that the Peasant wedding was cut from the harp transcription and the Slovenians didn’t give the wedding dance quite enough of a (Good Soldier) Schweiking…. For that you need Czech musicians. And that Polka is my favourite part: a brief melodic interlude in all the through-composition and tone-poeming. For similar reasons, Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro is best enjoyed as the only thing resembling a melody in the entirety of the astringent mini-opera Gianni Schicchi.

    +1 for Finlandia even if I’m a fanatical Russophile in the Current Year.

    PS: Anyone putting in a favourable mention of Copland, please state clearly your preference for long or short drop. Lincoln (Brigade) Portrait, my ass. Appalachian Spring mayyyyyyybeeeeeeee. I like Simple Gifts.

  • wildman August 7, 2022, 3:13 PM

    russia and eastern europe will save western civilization

  • C August 7, 2022, 6:22 PM

    That harp girl cost me 10:44 of my life I’ll never get back. Know what? I’d not take it back, because that was one of the greatest displays of mastery I’ve ever seen. I’m listening to it again, right now. She is awesome, she owns that harp, she makes it do what she wants. Seldom do you witness someone command an instrument like she does.

    As for Joe Biden, f&ck him!