The most widely popular symphonic work of Czech Romantic music literature – the cycle of tone poems, My Country, by Bedrich Smetana (1824 – 1884) – was shortly after the completion of its full orchestral version arranged also for piano duet. The piano reduction, from the pen of the composer himself, attests to his own idea of the functional hierarchy in an orchestral score. To be sure, My Country is the work of a composer who was no longer in sensory auditive control of his nascent music. As an active pianist, Smetana was closely acquainted with the various technical devices and potentialities of piano stylization; consequently, the outcome of his transcription of the orchestral version into piano texture represents a remarkable feat in terms of sheer musical imagination. Indeed, Smetana succeeded in turning his piano reductions of the individual tone poems here to ideal vehicles of his intention which was to popularize the larger work, at the same time creating a series of virtuoso pieces entitled to autonomous existence on the concert platform. For its part, Supraphon laid the interpretation of the six tone poems into the hands of two artists best suited for this task: the husband and wife piano duet of Igor and Renata Ardasev, whose performing experience, coupled with exquisite co-ordination, empathy in feeling for the music and, last but not least, dazzling technical dispositions, predetermine this recording for an enthusiastic reception.
Slogan: My Country in a rarely heard version – for twenty fingers!