Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ancerl/Boston SO, Smetana: Ma Vlast. 1969 broadcast, during a very audible thunderstorm!

I haven't posted any music for a while, and was in a quandary about what next.
The big pause (not only a lion specialty) only heightened the importance of making this selection.

For those who are interested, I've had a beautiful boy, now 2 months old in the while. He's our first. As I've been engaged with microburst volcanic eruptions and impressive blowouts of the rear chassis, thoughts of which and why and how have come up; choosing and posting has been on my mind just not on the schedule. I do have a ridiculous bunch of music on the mental cue however, and it will continue to be brought here.

[Insert Name Here] and an unnamed sonic cleanup collaborator brought this to the groups,
and I freaked out as usual. It concerns the most beloved work by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. Here you go:

"A Tanglewood concert...soul-stirring Má vlast 
led by Karl Ancerl (the first complete performance by the BSO) ...[at] the Koussevitzky Music Shed..."

I hope you find this performance as moving as we have here.
Given the Heraclitean flow that my life has been awash in these past weeks, it seems appropriate. What with the fossil fuel-extraction disaster in the middle of the Americas' waters (which happened to white people this time, so the outrage is suddenly more newsworthy) and its possible upcoming climate change legislation effects, the evocative 'Vltava' is perfect.

Check the real thunder and lighting backing 'Bohemia's Woods and Fields' from outside the building, starting from 3:08 and onwards.
It speaks for itself.
The contributor has gotten some wonderful handed-down stories regarding this performance, especially about one of those who

"...attended this concert, and according to this person, members of the
orchestra were literally in tears at the conclusion of the work. You can tell this was a cathartic experience for all involved...", as well as other reports of folks who were, "...told by a friend that he and his wife left the concert in tears."

The sound of water sluicing gloriously at 12:43 is evidence of an all 'round aquavitae-soaked confluence of sound, emotion and nature. The Berkshire storm even enacts a curious reserve in the adagio moments.

I encourage you to look into conductor Karel Ancerl's history, which will further enrich your listening experience of this piece. It resonates still more upon remembering that when this was recorded the invasion and killings of 'Prague Spring' were still fresh in the Czech homeland.

Bedrich Smetana
Má Vlast (My Homeland)

Karel Ancerl
Boston Symphony Orchestra

August 1969
Live broadcast

1 Vyšehrad (The High Castle)
2 Vltava (The Moldau)
3 Šárka
4 Zčeských luhů a hájů (From Bohemia's Woods and Fields)
5 Tábor
6 Blaník

130.83 MB

Play it loud!!!


Guillermo said...

130.83 MB total, individual movements in 1 folder
MP3 format,
218-260 kbps VBR

also at

Fred said...

Indeed it is a truly remarkable concert. Ancerl has the BSO playing at an incredibly high emotional level. Perhaps memories of the failed Czech spring were still in the air? Storms aside, this an incredibly important document by a truly inspirational musician. Everyone should hear, if for anything, an example of why the BSO has the reputation it does!

Congrats on the new addition to your family!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

i was wondering if anyone else had trouble with the files, a couple of them did not unzip properly and they will not play. any help would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Help! I downloaded the file just fine. But when I went to unpack it, track 5 (Tabor) wouldn't open! Winrar (the program I use) tells me that the track 5 file is corrupt! Is it possible to upload the track 5 file separately? I'm listening to the other parts of this performance now. Wow! The only other performance I know of with this much emotion and power is the 1990 Kubelik performance with the Czech Philharmonic!


Anonymous said...

indeed... track 5 contains errors...

Guillermo said...

Tabor, lone mp3 here:

Sorry 'bout that. I'll get a whole new upload in a few

Zer0_II said...

Greetings Guillermo. First of all allow me to say congratulations on your baby boy. Watching him grow up will be the greatest experience of your life. You have a great blog here, and I wanted to let you know that I've added your fabulous blog to the Classical category of my music blogroll/directory @

I'm trying to put together the most comprehensive list of music blogs which feature out of print or otherwise unavailable music, as well as those which share podcasts, or sample mp3 files. I've categorized them so that you can easily find exactly what you are looking for.

If you would like to help me out, you can do so by linking back to my blog. Although it isn't required in order to be listed, I would greatly appreciate it. If you would be willing to mention the blogroll in a post that would fantastic also. Thanks for all the hard work and time that goes into maintaining this blog, and especially for the fantastic music you share. Take care.


Anonymous said...

Wow... I've loved your blog for a while and now I find out we have babies almost the same age. Mine is 7 weeks old and astonishing me every day. Thanks for all your work here.

Kostas said...

Congrats on your baby boy!

What a treat, this recording!

Guillermo said...

Fred, Kostas, Anonymous folks- Thank you for all the kind sentiments. Hey you know he really digs the more fiery hungarian rhapsody-type things so far, and the wide, sweeping gestures like in this recording. I've got to find some more hungarian dances & rhapsodies (dvorak and brahms) for him, will post what I have when I get it together...

Celeste said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I was at this concert and it was a wonderful experience. I still remember it 40 years later. (I got real wet running to the car afterwards)

Anonymous said...

A stirring and inspirational performance, indeed! Ancerl conducted this Ma Vlast only a year after the Soviets marched into Prague, and after he had fled Czechoslovakia in exile. This was a man who lost his wife and children to the Nazi exterminators during WWII but who managed to survive.

For technical reasons the broadcast rolled off the bass from the original performance but the extreme low frequencies of the thunder are still there, available for digital restoration to their actual glory. That's been done, and this same performance with the full low frequency range restored, can be downloaded by those with subwoofers at:

As the owner of the original tape recording says, the bass-restored recording is "some floor shakin', pants flapping fun!"

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FONT LOVER said...

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Gerard-from-delft (holland) said...

New to your blog (discovered through the High Pony Tail blog), and it's wonderful. Very exciting to discover the Ancerl performance (i'm a huge admirer of his art!) and wow! the thunderstorm is SO much part of the performance..and the BSO play their hearts out for Ancerl! thanks, will visit your site very often and hopefully discover more live performances, amazing stuff you got!

Guillermo said...

Thanks! I've got some wonderful stuff planned, including more Kondrashin...

Anonymous said...

the person who put up the 'pants-shaking' enhanced version of this smetana (and mr guillermo) deserve thanks, but again, #5 of the flac files is somehow corrupt after i've tried it twice.
it's a cursed track i tell ya!;)

with the backstory of this performance, i've GOT to hear it.

i'm just going to intersperse the 224 mp3 for the time being. obviously i'm not any sort of a flac snob.

this is a great site! SUCH interesting pieces!
thanks for this.


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galanga said...

Dear Guillermo/Statework, thank you very much for sharing this. The IV track is effectively wonderful.

But it would be great if could you upload a fixed zip file, I just come now and the FLAC files was unavailable most of the time, don't know why.

For a performance that I like a lot (but available with poor quality, I broke the CD...) : this is a contemporary symphony written by a chinese composer (40-50 yo), and directed by a chinese director (which is a woman: still hope to see that in western countries...).
The MP3 (128) files are here :

The videos (concert in Berlin), are here :
The videos should be looked first, so you can notably see what solo instruments are used ; there's a big surprise on second half of "03 Night Words from the Earth Buildings" mouvement.

More information on the (slow) website of the Xiamen Philarmonic Orchestra (from were the MP3 files come, so should not have problems spreading them) :

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

This is a related question, again about Ma Vlast, but about the live Talich recording from 1939, which was until recently available on CPO0022032 from Their site says the recording is out of print and may not ever be reissued.

Does anyone on this site have this recording and a willingness to share it?

Guillermo said...

ARGH! May it be said that I arrive, if late, but that it happens...eventually...Thank you, galanga. Hope you got the files OK. Anonymous, I have been looking for that Talich '39 myself lately...