Blaník? It’s a mountain (image above) in central Bohemia that plays an important part in Czech legend.
So the story goes, hidden in its depths is an army that, led by St. Wenceslas – the Czechs’ patron saint – will emerge to save the nation in its direst need.
It’s with the melding of this legend with the Hussite hymn, Ye who are God’s Warriors and passing references to Prague’s High Castle (Vyšehrad), and the river Vltava, that Smetana closes his Má vlast cycle in a blaze of nationalist fervour.
Sixth Symphony in D
A brief disquisition on the slightly knotty topic of numbering in Dvořák’s symphonies:
It was Brahms who introduced the young Dvořák to his German publishers, Simrock, a Berlin company who – rather high-handedly – decided to number the Czech’s symphonies in the order that they published them; and, since the sixth was the earliest that they issued, it promptly became symphony number one. Dvořák himself added to the confusion by believing his actual first symphony to be irretrievably lost – if you remember it eventually turned up in 1923 – and, consequently, numbering his sixth as his fifth and so on. Fortunately, Dvořák scholarship has now rectified the confusion and the works are now numbered in their correct chronological order.
The sixth – first of the four last great symphonies is here given, what is by common consent, one of its best performances:
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