- One of the treasures of Czech music in a fascinating interpretation by the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Václav Talich - majestic Vyšehrad, energetic Vltava, passionate Šárka, lyrical Fields and Groves, suggestive Tábor, triumphant Blaník.
- My Country - a lifelong artistic challenge for Václav Talich.
- "It is a most clear and dear expression which you convey to us with such love, which strengthens our hope and faith." wrote Talich's listeners of My Country during WWII.
- The third and most mature of Talich's recordings of My Country, following his versions of 1929 and 1940.
Gramophone Classical Music Guide 2010
Try listening from just before six minutes into 'From Bohemia's Woods and Fields' and you reach the very heart of this great performance. The CPO brass lunges towards the main melody with unconstrained eagerness, their impact much aided by smiling glissandos. And as Talich and his players climb aboard Smetana's homespun melody, everything assumes a sunny glow: it's almost as if the entire work thus far had prepared for that one magical moment. But there are countless additional splendours: the luminous mobility of 'Vltava', the grimness of 'Sárka' (so different here to the excitable Kubelík), the sense of foreboding in 'Tábor' and the chest-swelling patriotism of 'Blaník'. The strings retain more than a hint of the portamentos that were such a distinctive feature of Talich's 1929 recording, but the woodwinds are notably superior and the basically excellent sound releases more of the music's dynamism than was easily audible on 78s.
The transfer makes a warmer case for the original tapes than did the old LPs, and generally serves Talich well – except in one maddening respect. A couple of bars have dropped from 'Tábor', thus utterly ruining the contour of a major climax. The offending cut was not present on the original recording. If you can write off the missing bars as 'historical wear and tear', then expect a Má vlast that's way above average, an inspired affirmation of national pride by a wonderful people who had only recently escaped one form of tyranny, and would subsequently fall prey to another.