Skip to content
Home » Classical Downloads » Hi-Res Downloads » 24bit/96kHz » Bychkov: Smetana – Má Vlast (24/96 FLAC)

Bychkov: Smetana – Má Vlast (24/96 FLAC)

Bychkov: Smetana - Má Vlast (24/96 FLAC)
Bychkov: Smetana – Má Vlast (24/96 FLAC)


Composer: Bedřich Smetana
Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Semyon Bychkov
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Pentatone
Catalogue: PTC5187203
Release: 2024
Size: 1.4 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Má Vlast
01. I. Vyšehrad
02. II. Vltava
03. III. Šárka
04. IV. Z českých luhů a hájů
05. V. Tábor
06. VI. Blaník

This recording of Smetana’s symphonic poem cycle Má Vlast made classical best-seller charts in early 2024, even with numerous versions of the work available, even beyond its second part, the ubiquitous Vltava, known in English as “The Moldau.” That riverine piece gives an idea of what to expect from the entire set by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Semyon Bychkov. Bychkov manages what might be called an expanded view of the piece, striking a difficult balance in what seems like a straightforward piece; he keeps the listener’s attention hanging between the evergreen melody and the underlying water figuration. In general, Bychkov is a good deal slower than normal for the cycle as a whole, clocking in at more than 81 minutes, while the classic Czech versions come in around the mid-70s. Is this perhaps a non-Czech version of the work? Perhaps, but the orchestral work Bychkov gets from the orchestra ranges from good to extraordinary. Sample the harp opening of “Vyšehrad,” which instantly sets an elemental storytelling mood for the cycle. The clarity of the harp in this passage also points to the superior engineering from the PentaTone label, working at the acoustically superior Rudolfinium in Prague. All the many details in Bychkov’s reading come through fine, and the end result is a fresh recording that will provide hours of pleasure over multiple hearings. Physical album buyers will get an elegant little note from Bychkov on exile and home.

The Czech Philharmonic and its Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov present a new recording of Bed ř ich Smetana’s masterpiece Má vlast (My Homeland). The album celebrates both the bicentenary of Smetana’s birth and, the start of 2024’s Year of Czech Music which has been celebrated every ten years since Smetana’s 100th anniversary in 1924. Má vlast (1874 – 1878) is a potent symbol of the Czech Republic’s turbulent political history and has played an important role in the Czech national movement. Contemplating the landscape, history, and legends of Bohemia, Má vlast is best known for its world – famous Moldau melody. For Bychkov, who was born in Russia before emigrating to the United States, and now lives in France, the question of ‘the homeland’ is particularly poignant – how to take pride in the best of its heritage, while also coming to terms with its darker pages. For the Orchestra to revisit this seminal piece with Bychkov, with whom it has developed such a close working relationship over the past few years, makes the recording all the more personal and topical. The Czech Philharmonic is one of the world’s orchestral gems, recognised for its rich tradition with the Czech masters as well as European repertoire. Semyon Bychkov who is internationally renowned for his interpretations of the core repertoire, began his tenure with the Orchestra at the start of the 2018/19 season. Together, they have so far recorded for Pentatone Mahler ’s First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Symphonies (2022 – 2023), part of the complete Mahler cycle to be released by the label. The Orchestra is also featured on the album Folk Songs (2023) recorded by Magdalena Kožená and Sir Simon Rattle.

Leave a Reply