The Moldau (Vltava) is the second tone poem in a set of six from Ma Vlast (My Homeland). The best description is from the composer himself, "The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer's wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night's moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John's Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe".
Composed rapidly between November 20 and December 8 of 1874, it was premiered in Zofrin on April 4, 1875 with the orchestra conducted by Adolf Cech. It was last of the two symphonic poems from the series to be published in the composer's lifetime. The newly engraved edition offered here has been prepared by Richard W. Sargeant Jr. from the primary sources and dispenses with some of the odd additions made by various publishers in the early part of the 20th century and is a must for all who treasure Smetana's orchestral masterpiece.
- IMSLP page
- All Music Guide