Talk:Má vlast

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Somebody changed "Bohemia" in this article to "Czechia". To be quite honest, I don't know which one is more correct, but I don't think we should use "Czechia" in the article because it's completely unfamiliar to English speakers - when I saw it, I assumed it was some state which later became a part of the Czech Republic (or perhaps rather Czechoslovakia) rather than a synonym for it, which it seems to be. If "Czechoslovakia" is correct, then lets say that, not "Czechia".

As I say, I'm really not sure what is correct - I've changed it back to Bohemia, partly to get rid of the unfamilar "Czechia" and partly because as far as I know Bohemia was the state in existence at that time, but then we describe Smetana as a "Czech" composer, so I don't know. --Camembert

Ugh, none of that makes sense - the basic point I'm making is this: I don't know what I'm talking about, but whatever we say it shouldn't be "Czechia", because it means nothing to most people (I am asuming that "Czechia" doesn't have some specific meaning that isn't covered by "Czechoslovakia" or "Czech Republic"). --Camembert

"Czechia" is correct. It means the Czech Lands or Czech state, then Bohemia, Moravia and partly Silesia together, now the Czech Rebublic, which is the political name of that country only since 1993, when Czechoslovakia (Czechia+Slovakia) dissolved. "Czechia" is the similar case as "Germany". There are Bavaria, Saxony e.c., but the whole area, the whole nation, is generally known as Germany. Czechia exists since 9th century. I thing Bohemia in this article isn't wrong, but if it refers to the whole country, then Czechia would be better. I strongly recommend two articles about "Czechia" here: Czech Republic

OK, I think I was misunderstanding - the impression that I got from the Czech Republic article - particularly the sentence "The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 announced that the name Czechia is to be used in all situations other than formal official documents and the full names of government institutions" - was that "Czechia" was purely a modern name. I think the Czech Republic article could be a bit clearer in this regard. So OK, I'll change the present article back to "Czechia", since you clearly know what you're talking about :) --Camembert
"Czechia" is modern because of lack of opportunities to use it before 1993. There were "Austria-Hungary", then "Czechoslovakia" and the Czech geopolitical entity, "Czechia" ("Česko" in Czech), was simply overshadowed by them. Other thing is, that Bohemia usually served as the synonym for Czechia (like Holland-the Netherlands).

Yes, but Czechia is a special case. The word Czech is derived from the Czech word Čechy, which means Bohemia. Thus, Czech Republic essentially means Bohemian Republic, although the Czech Republic refers to more than just Bohemia. This has created some complicated problems among linguists, politicians, etc., as to how it should properly be treated. In the mean time, the Czech Republic has made a point of trying to promote the name Czechia to English speakers, as it is common to have a short name for a country; one rarely says the "Federal Republic of Germany," for example, or the "Kingdom of the Netherlands." In this case, however, Smetana was referring to his native land, Bohemia (which, as I mentioned, is Čechy in the Czech language). At that point in time, Bohemia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and other than that was completely separate from Silesia and Moravia. -- Phil Bastian 20:55, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

You are wrong. Bohemia, Silesia and Moravia form one common state (kingdom) since 11th century and were never been separated since then. This kingdom was called The Lands of the Czech Crown or Czech kingdom, under Austrian Empire rule as well. Moreover, Smetana was born in Litomyšl, city in the Bohemian-Moravian "borderland".
WRONG! there is no country named Czechia! Its just small group of people trying to promote this garbage on the wiki.

Correct term is either Bohemia or nowdays Czech Republic. viz Czech Republic constitution. (talk) 14:04, 2 September 2010 (UTC)


In Czech language the word "vlast" is not capitalized (see e.g. [1] - English tranlsation is "My Country", Czech "Má vlast"). I removed the tag asking to move it to "Má Vlast". Perhaps if the name got partially englicised. Pavel Vozenilek 20:44, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

musical quotes[edit]

A fine set of musical quotes as jpegs and midi files are available on the corresponding French page. I've copied only the most important example; anyone with time to do the rest is most welcome. Also given are durations of the numbers. Coughinink 03:24, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

My Country[edit]

I don't think the translation to "My Country" here is appropriate. In Czech, the word country is translated Stát. I am not an expert on Czech, but in German (which, while not a Slavic language has definite cultural ties that influence language) the word Vaterland has a special meaning which is different from that of the word country. It tends to be more romantic, patriotic, etc. One would never refer to a foreign fatherland, for instance. It evokes a certain passion which is not present in the word country. I imagine that Smetana wanted to evoke this passion in the piece. -- Phil Bastian 20:44, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

No, in Czech country is translated země (or a lot of other things, depending on context; but stát simply means state - interwiki list is NOT a translating tool). Yup, the usual dictionary meaning of vlast is mother/fatherland (and it is perfectly possible to say "francouzští vojáci umírali za svou vlast - The French soldiers died for their $PARENTland"); however this in English sounds undesirably like German Vaterland and "my country" can be used by an English speaker where Czech would use vlast. Besides, My Country is an established English title. --Malyctenar 13:17, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Alright, point taken about the interwiki list. I should have done more research, but oh well. Even so, you seem to agree that vlast does not directly translate as country, which was my point. That said, I was listening to Má vlast just last night and found to my dismay that my CD had translated it as My Country, so I can't deny that it is a translation in use, even if it is a degradation of the actual sentiment expressed by the title. I never understood why Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris had to be translated as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I guess the world has accepted a culture of less-than-ideal translations. Bother. Phil Bastian 12:52, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

A bit on recordings[edit]

I think it'd be prudent to note that in recordings, Vltava is almost exclusively the only one that gets presented seperately (I've seen a couple with Vyšehrad or Z českých luhů a hájů, but none of the other three), and there are many recordings of the complete cycle. I can't figure out a good way to word it, or where it would go, though. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 16:50, 7 January 2007 (UTC)


I edited the wording on the 'High Castle' section about Smetana's composing deaf. The piano manuscripts for the first movement were composed between 1872 and 1874. Smetana did not begin to noticeably lose hearing until the summer of 1874 and was completely deaf by the end of October. This means that the first movement was the only one to be (mostly) composed while he could still hear reasonably well. Vltava was also partially complete by the time that Smetana began to lose hearing. None of the symphonic poems were published until he was deaf (between 1880 and 1894). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:33, 13 March 2007 (UTC).

Okay, I proceeded to reword the sentences about deafness. I think they are better, but now it doesn't fit well into the Vysehrad paragraph, but I don't have time to fix it. I hope I haven't made a mess of things here. The citation is better at least, though it doesn't have the interesting part about his trip to the opera the night before his total hearing loss.Btj (talk) 10:08, 1 November 2012 (UTC)


That picture of the score of 'Vltava' is wrong. The image shows the piece in G major, whereas the piece is in fact in E minor; furthermore, there are some inaccurate representations of rhythm. I recommend the image be either edited or removed. 20:54, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

The climax of the piece is in G major, by the way. 17:07, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

The score is missing some legatos and accents, but notewise it matches the first violin part in the external link at the bottom of the page starting at measure 39. E minor and G major have the same signature (one sharp). The melody is based on E signifying which of the two it is. I suppose it wouldn't hurt if someone were to redraw that passage with all the legato and accents inserted, but otherwise its not incorrect. DavidRF 17:54, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Exactly, the part of the theme that is depicted in the article is certainly based on a simple E minor scale. This is absolutely correct, since the main theme of Vltava is set in E minor. David already said that the depiction just removes phrasing instructions. This is quite common and acceptable if you reproduce a main theme or melody from a full score. By the way, I do not see from the score that the climatic part would be set in G major. Saint John's rapids still depart from E minor (adding the tritone in the bass voices) and end up in the dominant seventh of E major. All the finale (the broad flow of the Vltava and the motive of the first poem) is then set and ends in E major. -- 23:21, 13 June 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Is it really E minor?[edit]

In my studies of the Romantic and Classical music periods, I've seen some interesting things in compositions, but I'd like to confirm that this piece is really in E minor as opposed to G major, and moving to the relative minor over the progression of the symphonic poem? The bulk of the work is in the G major tonality, and moves to the minor tonality at key points. If the majority of the work is in a major tonality, shouldn't it be noted in the appropriate section as such? If there are no objections, I will note that it is in E minor, but is mostly major in tone. deadlyMETAL | Discuss? 22:28, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

I'll object.  :-) The first part is in E minor. Flutes play runs from E with violin and harps plucking E minor accompaniment. The second part is the famous river theme which is basically a rising E minor scale with iambic meter. That's enough for me. Its really only the first theme group that defines the key of a piece. The keys will change somewhat as they do in any other piece. The finale is in indeed in the major, but E major, not G major. You can certainly add that the piece ends in E major, if you want, but that's true of at least half of minor key works from this period.DavidRF (talk) 23:19, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I found a book that spells out the keys of each section.
  • Two sources - E minor
  • Moldau theme - E minor
  • Forest hunt - C major
  • Rustic wedding - G major
  • Moonlight and water sprites - A-flat major
  • Moldau theme reprise - E minor
  • St John's Rapids - E minor
  • Moldau in broadest stream - E major
  • Vysehrad - E major
DavidRF (talk) 00:14, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
That's takes care of my question. Thanks for explaining it! deadlyMETAL | Discuss? 16:25, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Dave is quite likely correct in all of this, aside from the deliberate error of saying "finale" instead of "coda." But DeadlyMETAL, don't be too quick to dismiss what you hear, because, after all, that's what music should ultimately be about. I can't tell G major from A-flat, but I can definitely tell major from minor. A lot of the piece strikes me as being in a major key, and Dave's "book" (the one he's writing in his head) confirms it. Willi Gers07 (talk) 15:58, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Here is the book citation. I apologize for omitting it the first time. It includes measure numbers available in the score visible in the link on the article page.
  • Brown, A. Peter, The Symphonic Repertoire (Volume 4). Indiana University Press (ISBN 025333487X), pp. 447-449 (2002).[2]
DavidRF (talk) 16:29, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Vltava and La Mantovana[edit]

Given how the cite tag has been yoyoing in and out I thought it might be an idea to provide the reference myself. However, of my three recordings only one provides relevant commentary and that is rather different from what we have in the article. It iss the James Levine/Wiener Philharmoniker/DG recording 419 768-2 with bar code 0 28941 97682 6.

The English language notes by Jan Smaczny say

The splendid and evocative melody which runs through the composition, like the river it depicts flowing through the Bohemian landscape derives from a Swedish folksong. Ther may be another source, since a very similar theme in 3/4 time occurs in a Ballada in Karel Sebor's opera The Templars in Moravia premiered in 1865, which Smetana knew well.

(the S in Sebor's name should have an accent, but I cant easilly get it here.) Thats on page 11 of the booklet. Meanwhile on page 7, Kurt Honolka writes

Das einpraegsame Hauptthema so-smetanaisch-tschechisch es klingt, ist aus einer uralten europaeischen Wander melodoe abgeleitet, die, zum beispiel im deutschen Kinderlied >>Alle meine Entchen<< und in der Nationalhymne des jungen Staates Israel wiederkehrt, die aber auch mit der motivschen Keimzelle von Smetanas Oper >>Dalibor<< verwandt ist.

(I've flattened the umlauts into "e"s and the typography on the Germanic quotation marks are slightly different.) The French notes don't mention the origins of the theme and the Italian notes are a translation of Honalka's German.

We've got enough evidence here to say that the theme was widely used in folk songs but it strikes me that actually calling the theme La Mantovana needs separate support and referencing.--Peter cohen (talk) 11:35, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Some light digging with google, the only direct connection I can find is a Swedish one. Smetana apparently admitted that he got the tune from the Swedish folk‐song "Ack, Värmeland". Several program notes state this, but its also mentioned on p. 466 of A. Peter Brown's "The Symphonic Repertoire: Volume 4. The Second Golden Age of the Viennese Symphony: Brahms, Bruckner, Dvorak, Mahler, and Selected Contemporaries" (ISBN-13: 978-0253334886). Although, google books doesn't let me read the whole chapter. I'd like to read the whole chapter to be sure. Anyone have access to that book? Whether or not the Swedish song traces back eventually to La Mantovana is another question. I don't know. It seems like there is a folk song in almost every country in Europe which has a similar iambic, rising, minor-scale theme. DavidRF (talk) 15:59, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
Lets See what other people offer, otherwise we go with the plurality of programme notes and alter both the Mantovana and Dear Old Stockholm articles to match the reliable sources thus provided. The notes in the Levine bx certainly count as reliable as will at least a fair chunk of the notes youve found on google. In the mean time, Ill reinstate the fact tag until weve resolved this.--Peter cohen (talk) 20:22, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
THere are a lot errors in CD booklets, and they have to used judiciously. I added the relevant ref.

This is bit dated, as del Biado's authorship has since been established. "...>From Jewish-Music, 12/29/99 The tune is *much* older than "The Moldau" from Smetana's "Ma Vlast," and seems to have come from further west. This is what, as a musicologist, I have been able to discover about the origin of the "Hatikvah" tune: "Hatikvah"/"La Montovana" FAQ (first written and posted in June, 1997) The first known appearance of the "HaTikvah" tune was in an intermedio of 1608, performed during celebrations of a Gonzaga wedding in Mantua. Several composers collaborated on the music for this performance: they were Claudio Monteverdi, his brother Giulio Cesare Monteverdi, Giovanni Gastoldi, and Salamone Rossi. Which composer used the tune is not known, although the fact that there are other tunes also called by some version of the name "Mantovana," and that some of them are known to be by Gastoldi, is suggestive. (The lutenist James Tyler attributes it to Gastoldi on stylistic grounds, and that seems plausible to me.) There is no evidence that this music was a setting of a pre-existent tune rather than a new composition -- we simply don't know. The tune became very popular: it was used for Italian madrigals (Cataneo), solo songs ("Giuseppino"), guitar settings (Pico), instrumental settings in Renaissance style (Zanetti, Giamberti, anonymous), violin divisions [i.e., variations] (anonymous), trio sonatas (Marini), and was published in England in Playford's collections of country dances. It is not known where Smetana (1824-1884) got the tune, but he seems to have believed that it was a Czech folk tune. It is also not known for sure where Naftali Herz Imber (1856-1909) got the tune, to which he wrote only the words (being a poet, not a composer). Edith Gerson-Kiwi, in "Grove" (Vol. 9, p. 359), refers to the tune as a "Romanian folksong." It is quite possible that Imber simply took the tune from the "Moldau" movement of Smetana's "Ma Vlast" (composed in 1874), and no evidence whatsoever that he did not do so. Hope Ehn <ehn (at) world(dot)std(dot)com> (M.M., music history, New England Conservatory; " -Galassi (talk) 20:31, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm not convinced by the reliability of the sources you supplied, but have found the information in Grove.--Peter cohen (talk) 00:03, 22 February 2010 (UTC)


The recordings posted are perhaps free, but of highly dubious quality to say the least; if you can pass it through a proper wikipedia vote, be my guest. Until then, forget it.

I'm a little tea pot[edit]

Changed it back. Unfortunately, the "I'm a little tea pot" theme in the Moldau is one of those things that is so obvious and trivial that it is apparently beneath scholarly mention these days in anything google-searchable, like the fact the earth is round.

And yes, having been here for years and years, I know one can be challenged on the spherocity of the earth too. Unfortunately, the evidence for the latter is only indirect, whil one has only to listen to the moldau. However, there are lots of mentions on-line. Suggest it be left with a "citation-needed" tag so hopefully somebody can cite the obvious. Drjem3 (talk) 21:31, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

You must provide a reliable scholarly source for this assertion.--Galassi (talk) 21:46, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know. Unfortunately, this is one of those things that is so obvious that scholars these days do not comment on it in ways searchable on-line. My suggestion is to leave it with a "citation-needed" tag so that somebody else with more time than I have can track it down in the bowels of some library. You perhaps. Considering that the whole article needs citations and has been tagged accordingly, this is not too big a step. Drjem3 (talk) 21:58, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Z českých luhů a hájů[edit]

I'm sure I've also seen this as "Z českých luhův a hájův." Would that be a slightly archaic version (from Smetana's time, perhaps)? Kostaki mou (talk) 23:55, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

A Czech friend assures me that I am mistaken. Kostaki mou (talk) 21:58, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't imagining things after all! A day or two after another Czech friend assured me of the impossibility of "my" version, I was looking through my old LP's (remember them?) and found a recording of Má vlast. The piece was indeed identified there as "Z českých luhův a hájův"! Again, I suspect this is a slightly archaic form. Anybody know? Kostaki mou (talk) 14:57, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
The Eulenburg edition of c. 1914, under the editorship of Czech conductor Vilém Zemánek (available at the International Music Score Library Project), also has this variant. I think that confirms the matter. Again, anyone have any further information? Kostaki mou (talk) 19:25, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Hello, the version "Z českých luhův a hájův" is considered as really archaic today. --Jvs (talk) 09:43, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! Would it have been archaic in Smetana's time? (He may have deliberately used an archaic version.)Kostaki mou (talk) 16:09, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
I am no expert on the subject but it is quite possible. Here you can see a scan of the 1st page of original score which is titled "Z českých luhů a hájů". So, it looks to me that Smetana, on second thought, deliberately chose the more archaic spelling. --Jvs (talk) 13:17, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks again! Obviously, today's usage was established in Smetana's time. Could it be that it was not yet regarded as standard? I know that Smetana's native language was German and that he had to learn Czech. Perhaps that's a factor. Kostaki mou (talk) 15:13, 16 January 2015 (UTC)