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Shadow on Concrete Wall

Bedřich Friedrich Smetana 
1824 - 1884

Bedřich Smetana was a Czech Romantic composer. He was the eighth child of his father František Smetana. His mother was already the third wife of the father.


Smetana was born in the Bohemian Leitomischl and baptized with the German name Friedrich. Due to his pronounced Czech national feeling, which he developed as an adult, he changed his first name to the Czech form Bedřich.


Smetana learned violin and piano at the age of four. He was politically active, supported the Czech national movement and took part in the revolution of 1848/49. In 1856 he left the Czech Republic for political reasons and headed the Gothenburg Philharmonic Society.


When the political situation eased again, he returned to Prague in 1861 and was all the more committed to the national movement. He worked as a conductor, music critic, head of a patriotic choir, music director in the theater and as a composer.


Smetana had four daughters by two wives.


When he fell ill and lost his hearing in 1874, Smetana withdrew completely from the public. He moved to the country, where he continued to compose despite his deafness. Shortly before his death he was admitted to a psychiatric clinic, where he died on May 12, 1884. Smetana is considered one of the most important Czech composers.


His most famous work is certainly the cycle of symphonic poems "My Fatherland" (Má Vlast), from which "Die Moldau" also comes.

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