Bedřich Smetana (1824–1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the
development of a musical style which became closely identified with his
country's aspirations to independent statehood. Internationally he is
known for his opera The Bartered Bride, and for the symphonic cycle Má
vlast ("My Fatherland") which portrays the history, legends and
landscape of the composer's native land. A gifted pianist, Smetana
studied music under Josef Proksch in Prague. In 1866 his first two
operas, The Brandenburgers in Bohemia and The Bartered Bride, were
premiered at Prague's Provisional Theatre, the latter achieving great
popularity. Factions within the city's musical establishment interfered
with his creative work, and may have hastened his health breakdown. By
1874, Smetana had become completely deaf but, freed from his theatre
duties and the related controversies, he began a period of sustained
composition. His contributions to Czech music were increasingly
recognised and honoured, but a mental collapse in 1884 led to his
incarceration in an asylum, and his subsequent death. Smetana's
reputation as the father of Czech music has endured in his homeland,
where advocates have raised his status above that of his contemporaries
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Forces of Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles, fought an army commanded
by Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, at the Battle of Harlaw near
Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
French explorer Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac established Fort
Pontchartrain du Détroit in New France, which later grew and became the
city of Detroit.
The Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, marking the starting
point for one of the main roads out of the town that led Allied
soldiers to the front line during World War I, was unveiled.
The Libyan–Egyptian War, a short border war between Libya and Egypt
over political conflicts, ended after the combatants agreed to a
ceasefire organized by Algeria.
The Libyan government extradited six foreign medical workers that were
charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with
HIV in 1998.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
(law, rare) To annul a law by enacting a new law, as opposed to
repealing the former law
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The art of victory is learned in defeat.
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