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Steps to the New World • Smetana’s The Moldau and Šárka
Music has tremendous power to create new landscapes before our eyes, to paint lovely pictures, and to tell stories. Simply put, thanks to music we can transport ourselves to a different time and space. One of the musical genres invented especially for this purpose in the middle of the nineteenth century is called the symphonic poem.
The Moldau and Šárka
Czech Student Philharmonic
Petr Kadlec guide
Marko Ivanović conductor
Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall
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The program is based on a musical part but also on a spoken word that will be given in Czech language only. The program will not be supplied with English subtitles.
From Smetana’s commentary on the symphonic poems The Moldau and Šárka:
"The composition describes the course of the Vltava (Moldau), 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 Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Elbe.
This composition does not refer to the so-named natural landscape, but rather to the legend of a girl named Šárka. It begins with a portrayal of the enraged girl swearing vengeance on the whole male race for the infidelity of her lover. From afar is heard the arrival of armed men led by Ctirad who has come to punish Šárka and her rebel maidens. In the distance Ctirad hears the feigned cries of a girl (Šárka) bound to a tree. On seeing her he is overcome by her beauty and so inflamed with love that he is moved to free her. By means of a previously prepared potion, she intoxicates him and his men who finally fall asleep. As she blows her horn in a pre-arranged signal, the rebel maidens, hidden by nearby rocks, rush to the spot and commit the bloody deed. The horror of general slaughter and the passion and fury of Šárka’s revenge form the end of the composition."