Bedrich Smetana
Title Details

178 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

12 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Bedrich Smetana

Myth, Music, and Propaganda

by Kelly St. Pierre

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
This book reveals Czech composer Bedrich Smetana as a dynamic figure whose mythology has been rewritten time and again to suit shifting political perspectives.
Interpretations of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana and his music have shifted as frequently as the political contexts in which they were written. This book examines not just Smetana, but also the scholar-politicians who have imagined and reimagined him and his works since the nineteenth century. During the 1870s, Smetana helped found a powerful nationalist organization called the Umelecká beseda ("Artistic Society," or UB), whose members produced the earliest scholarship on the composer as part of their calls for political action. Within the increasingly radicalized discourses of the twentieth century, individuals including future Minister of Culture and Education Zdenek Nejedlý attacked the UB for not being nationalistic enough, producing their own revisionist histories of Smetana and his works. Kelly St. Pierre investigates Smetana as both nationalist composer and national symbol, revealing the composer'slegacy as a dynamic figure whose mythology has been rewritten time and time again to suit changing political perspectives.

Kelly St. Pierre is assistant professor of musicology at Wichita State University.
Introduction
Smetana Advocacy and Czech Nation-Building
Smetana, Czechness, and the New German School
Smetana, Czechness, and Wagner
Smetana as a Proven Genius
Writing the Smetana Myth: Historiography and Czechness
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
"An important book [that] investigates the creation of a collection of 'Smetana myths,' and the manner in which the composer's career and its reception were molded by a complex set of forces. Some of the most fascinating aspects of St. Pierre's book involve the sections dealing with the attempt on the part of various interlocutors to ascribe 'meaning' to specific moments of instrumental music." Michael Beckerman, SLAVIC REVIEW
"St. Pierre brings together a wide range of published sources, such as articles and edited correspondence in translation (mostly her own). Particularly intriguing is [her] perspective on music history (and its making) as media history. The monograph's structure and appearance are impeccable, and its name index will serve as an essential companion for every future study on Smetana." MUSIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NOTES
"St. Pierre's book will need to be consulted by anyone interested in the subject. It is lucidly constructed and well written, and has been well served by Rochester Press [sic] in its editing of her prose . . . [and] is especially valuable in the lively details it gives of the Umelecká beseda and its members." SLAVONIC AND EAST EUROPEAN REVIEW
"A sorely needed and welcome foray not only into scholarship on the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, but also into questions of composer biography and the role of propaganda in Central European nationalist movements...a valuable resource for scholars of European history and Czech music." EUROPEAN HISTORY QUARTERLY
"Kelly St. Pierre's concentrated and highly researched new study . . . closely examines the complex and politically controversial genesis of [Czech composer Smetana's] music, and its huge eventual significance in establishing a strong and clear national identity for that small if fiercely patriotic country contained within the 19th-century Austro-Hungarian Empire. St. Pierre has done well to cut a path through the forests of obscurantism generated by these ever-changing political perspectives, leading to a clearer picture of Smetana and his actual achievements. MUSICAL TIMES" MUSICAL TIMES
"A significant work of scholarship, Kelly St. Pierre's Bedrich Smetana: Myth, Music, and Propaganda fills an obvious and important gap in the literature of musical politics in Prague from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the end of the First Republic. With an excellent and thorough consideration of both Czech and English sources, including the most recent publications, this book will be indispensable for scholars and enthusiasts of Czech music, as well as scholars, students, and devotees of late nineteenth-century European cultural and intellectual history. --" Derek Katz, author of Janácek beyond the Borders

Hardcover

9781580465106

March 2017

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781782049364

March 2017

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Title Details

178 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

12 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press