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  • Author: Olga Mojzísová x
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This study deals with Bedrich Smetanas encounters with the legacy of William Shakespeare. The introduction is devoted to Smetana’s participation at the celebration of Shakespeare’s 300th birthday in 1864, at which he took part in the organization and dramaturgy as a conductor and a composer. The next part deals with the possible sources of Smetana’s knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays, followed by compositions inspired by specific dramas. It describes the circumstances of the genesis of the symphonic poem Richard III and of the piano composition Macbeth and Smetana’s conception of those works’ subject matter in relation to the shift of his artistic orientation towards programme music during his stay in Sweden. Above all, on the basis of their exchanged correspondence, the study then examines the ups and downs of Smetana’s relationship with the Eliska Krásnohorská and the composer’s unfinished opera Viola based on Twelfth Night.


Bedřich Smetana made three lists of his own compositions. The first, dated 1841, presents a selection of compositions from the period of his grammar school studies in 1840–1841. The second was made in Sweden in late 1858 and early ’59, and it contains works composed in Prague and Gothenburg between 1845 and 1858. The last, most extensive list was made gradually from 1875 until 1883. The most important list is the second one, which gives a nearly complete overview of Smetana’s works from the 1840s and ’50s, and it is of particular value for the Prague period through 1856, during which the genesis and chronology of his works are less clear. The introductory part of the study characterizes all three lists and provides information about their creation. This is followed by an edition of the second list with commentary. The edition presents a complete version of the list based on the original, and in the appended commentaries, it explains and, where necessary, corrects Smetana’s information on the basis of the sources and of the discoveries of existing Smetana research.