The Music of Bohemia/Part III

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ALthough the saying, "Where there is a Czech—there you hear music," may be exaggerated, nevertheless it was the observation of the neighboring nations that the people of Bohemia were from earliest times very fond of music. Richard Wagner, in his novel, The Pilgrimage to Beethoven, pays high tribute to the Czech performing musicians. He relates in it a story of a young musical enthusiast, who traveled from Paris to Vienna to see Beethoven. In the woods on the Bohemian border he met a group of wandering Czech musicians, who on the road under the blue sky played for him Beethoven's Septet with such profound understanding that he pronounced their performance of this work the best he ever heard.

It was the enthusiasm of a real love for music which accomplished the formation, for instance, of the Associations of the Prague and of the Moravian Teachers of Public Schools, two bodies which perform male choruses a capella with ideal interpretation. It is the Czech traditional musicianship which makes the members of these Associations sacrifice their time in exhausting rehearsals in order to secure a perfect result. Wherever they have sung, in France, Belgium, Germany, etc., the Czech Teachers have gone out victorious from the contest.

The pedagogical foundation for the education of Bohemian musicians was laid, when there was established, in the year 1811, the Conservatory of Music of Prague, which is placed now in a beautiful building, called "Rudolphinum," in the Old Town, the most ancient borough of the city of Prague.[1] This institution has sent into the world a large number of excellent artists. Every leading symphony or theatrical orchestra in the world has among its members one or more Czech musicians, pupils of the Prague Conservatory. The violin class especially became famous under the leadership of Otokar Ševčík, very well known among our American students of violin. Jan Kubelík, the celebrated artist, was one of his Czech pupils. From this Conservatory came all the members of the Bohemian String Quartet, an ensemble highly esteemed in Europe.

Whoever wishes to hear Smetana's, Fibich's, and Dvořák's operas perfectly produced, should visit the National Theatre in Prague, founded in the year 1868, where the orchestra is led under the baton of Karel Kovařovic, a musician of rare power—a real Smetanian conductor.

This sketch of Bohemian music would not be complete without mentioning two names of world-famous singers familiar to the American public—Emmy Destinn, the dramatic soprano, and Karel Burian, the tenor, known from their appearances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Madam Destinn interprets wonderfully the title rôles in Fibich's Šárka; she is unsurpassed as Libussa, and as Milada in Dalibor, both by Smetana. Burian is delightful as Lukas in The Kiss, and magnificent as Dalibor.



Piano Works

Six Morceaux caractéristiques. Op. 1.
Album Leaves. Op. 2.
Trois Polkas de Salon. Op. 7.
Trois Polkas poétiques. Op. 8.
Sketches. Op. 4 and 5.
Three études.
By the Seashore. Op. 17. Published by Schirmer, New York.
Fantasy on Czech Folk-Songs.
Rêves. Six morceaux caractéristiques.
Bohemian Dances.

Chamber Music

Trio for piano, violin, and violoncello. G minor. Op. 15.
From my Life. A string quartet. E minor.
Second string quartet. D minor.
From the Homeland. A duo for violin and piano.

Symphonic Works

Triumph Symphony. E flat major.
Richard III (Shakespeare's Richard). Op. 11.
Wallenstein's Camp (Schiller). Op. 14.
Hakon Jarl, Op. 16.

My Fatherland. A cycle of six symphonic poems:

   (a) Vyšehrad.
   (b) Vltava.
   (c) Šárka.
   (d) From Bohemian Meadows and Woodlands.
   (e) Tábor. An organ arrangement by L. Urban was published by the Gray Co., New York.
   (f) Blaník.


The Bartered Bride.
Two Widows.
The Kiss.
The Secret.
The Devil's Wall.

NB. Smetana's very first opera is The Brandeburgers in Bohemia; the last one, Viola, was left unfinished.

Piano Works

Waltzes. Op. 54.
Poetic Impressions. Op. 85.
Humoresques. Op. 101.


Duos. Op. 38.
Gipsy Songs. Op. 55.
Biblical Songs.

Chamber Music

String Quartets:
   A minor. Op. 16.
   D minor. Op. 34.
   E flat major. Op. 51.
   C major. Op. 61.
   E major. Op. 80.
   F major. Op. 96.
   A flat major. Op. 105.
   G major. Op. 106.

Piano Quartets:
   D major. Op. 23.
   E flat major. Op. 87.

Piano Trios:
   B flat major. Op. 21.
   G minor. Op. 26.
   F minor. Op. 65.
   Dumky. Op. 90.

   G major. Op. 77. String quartet and doublebass.
   E flat major. Op. 97. Two violas.
   A major. Op. 81. String quartet and piano.

Serenade. D minor. Op. 44. 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 French horns, violoncello, and doublebass.
Sonatina. Op. 100. Piano and violin.

Sonata. Op. 57. Piano and violin.

Rondo. Op. 94. Violoncello and piano.

Bagatelles. Two violins, violoncello, and cabinet organ.


Op. 33. Piano.
Op. 53. Violin.
Op. 104. Violoncello.

Symphonic Works

First Symphony. D major. Op. 60.
Second Symphony. D minor. Op. 70.
Third Symphony. F major. Op. 76.
Fourth Symphony. G major. Op. 88.
Fifth Symphony, From the New World. E minor. Op. 95.
Three Slavic Rhapsodies. Op. 45.
Slavic Dances. Op. 46 and 47.
Legends. Op. 59.
Suite. Op. 98.

   My Home. Op. 62.
   Husitská. Op. 67.
   In Nature. Op. 91.
   Carneval. Op. 92.
   Othello. Op. 93.
Symphonic Variations. Op. 78.

Symphonic Poems:
   The Waterman. Op. 107.
   The Midday Witch. Op. 108.
   The Gold Spinning-Wheel. Op. 109.
   The Dove. Op. 110.
   Heroic Song. Op. 111.


  • Dimitrij.
  • Jacobin.
  • Russalka.
  • The Devil's Bride.


  • Requiem.
  • St. Ludmila.
  • The Spectre's Bride.
  • The American Flag.
  • Stabat Mater.


Piano Works

Impressions and remembrances. Author's musical diary containing 352 rather short compositions.

Painter's Studies. Op. 56. Six compositions which mirror the composer's admiration for classical paintings.

Chamber Music

  • Piano Quartet. E minor. Op. 11.
  • String Quartet. G major. Op. 8.
  • Quintet. E flat major. Op. 42. Piano, violin, violoncello, clarinet, and French horn.

Symphonic Works

  • Symphony. E flat major. Op. 3.
  • Symphony. F major. Op. 17.
  • Symphony. E minor. Op. 53.
Symphonic poems:
  • Othello.
  • Záboj, Slavoj a Luděk.
  • Toman.
  • The Tempest.
  • The Spring.
  • At Evening.

Concert Melodramas

  • The Christmas Eve. Op. 9.
  • The Revenge of Flowers.
  • Eternity. Op. 14.
  • The Waterman. Op. 15.
  • Queen Emma.
  • Hacon. Op. 30.

Scenic Melodramas


Part I. The Wooing of Pelops. Op. 31.

Part II. The Atonement of Tantalus. Op. 32.

Part III. The Death of Hippodamia. Op. 33.


  • The Tempest (1894).
  • Hedy (1895).
  • The Bride of Messina (1883).
  • Šárka (1897).
  • Helga and Dargun (1898).


Piano Works

  • Fantaisie Polonaise. Op. 5.
  • Piano Works. Op. 7.
  • Poetic Impressions. Op. 10.
  • Piano Works. Op. 12.
  • Suite. Op. 21.
  • The Spring. Op. 22 a.
  • Summer Impressions. Op. 22 b.
  • Life and Dreams. Op. 30.

Chamber Music

  • Piano Quartet. C major, Op. 1, and A major, Op. 2.
  • Quintet. G minor. Op. 8.
  • Quartet. B flat major. Op. 11.

Symphonic Works

  • Symphony. E major. Op. 15.
  • Symphony. C minor. Op. 27.
  • Serenade. Op. 6. String orchestra.
  • A Fairy Tale. Op. 16.
  • Fantasy. Op. 24. Violin solo and orchestra.
  • Praga. Op. 26.
  • Asraël. Op. 27.
  • A Tale of Summer. Op. 29.
  • Meditation. Op. 35.


Piano Works

  • Remembrances. Op. 6.
  • Serenades. Op. 9.
  • Barcarolles. Op. 10.
  • Eclogues. Op. 11.
  • At Twilight. Op. 13.
  • Bohemian Dances. Op. 15.
  • Sonata Eroica. Op. 24,.
  • Songs of Winter Nights. Op. 30.
  • Two Moravian Dances (from Wallachia). Op. 34.
  • Pan. Op. 43.
  • Exoticon. Op. 45.


  • Melancholy. Op. 25. Six songs.
  • Melancholic Songs of Love. Op. 30.
  • The Valley of a New Kingdom. Op. 31.
  • Twenty-five Slovak Folk-Songs.
  • Eight Nocturnes. Op. 39.
  • Eroticon. Op. 46.

Chamber Music

  • Quintet. A minor. Op. 15. Piano, two violins, viola, and violoncello.
  • Trio quasi una ballata. Op. 27. Piano, violin, and violoncello.
  • String quartet. D major. Op. 35.

Symphonic Works

  • In Tatra Mountains. Op. 26.
  • Slovak Suite. Op. 32.
  • Eternal Desire. Op. 33.

Orchestral and Vocal

  • The Storm. Op. 42.
  • The Wedding Shirt.


  • The Little Demon.
  • Karlštejn.

Note: The most valuable collections of Czechoslovak folk-songs especially those of Vítězslav Novák (Slovak Songs) and of V. J. Novotmý (Libické písneě), may be found at the Webster Branch of the New Fork Public Library.

  1. Prague, the metropolis of Bohemia, preserved its reputation of eminence in musical art. In this town Mozart spent the happiest days of his life. After his fatherland despised its son, Bohemia welcomed the great master with open arms. He was understood by the people among whom he so gladly lived. Prague, the city of antique magnificence, was the place where Don Giovanni was written in order to express the thanks of the great master to his "dearest citizens of Prague," for their ardent reception.