Moldau By Smetana Composer: Bedrich Smetana Work Title: The Moldau. For my first selection of music for this final project I chose “The Moldau” by Bedrich Smetana. The reason I chose this piece was first, it is a symphonic poem and second, because it perfectly exemplified the use of nationalist style and word painting. The Moldau is a symphonic poem representing Nationalist pride for Smetanas country. It is the second of six symphonic poems from the orchestral piece “My Country”.
A symphonic poem is a one-movement orchestral form that, in this case, suggests a scene. It was written over a five-year span that covered the revolution against Austrian rule. The Moldau is a perfect example of a nationalist song, which is a song of folk pride for ones country. The piece “The Moldau” represents scenes along the river Moldau in Bohemia. It is here that we see the use of word painting, music expressed as though it were a painting to be seen.
It begins as a few streams in the forest flowing into the mighty river, painted with a flute and some clarinets and leading to violins. The journey takes us through a day in the forest where we see hunting, peasants dancing at a wedding, nymphs in the moonlight, the St. Johns Rapids, the Ancient Castle and back to the River theme as the river dies away. It is truly an enchanting piece.