Ma Vlast, or My Homeland, is a set of six Symphonic poems by Smetana. He wrote them in the late 1870s as depictions of his native Bohemia, the westernmost part of what we now call the Czech Republic. Vltava, or The Moldau is the most well-known of the six, and it describes the sounds of one of Bohemia’s great rivers, starting from two small springs, their unification into one stream, bringing forth Smetana’s most memorable tune, and passing through various landscapes, including one in which a farmer’s wedding is celebrated. The river continues through some dramatic rapids, then on towards Prague, finally vanishing into the distance.
The famous melody on which the piece is based isn’t actually original. Smetana adapted it from an Italian Renaissance tune, La Mantovana, and it’s even been used as the basis for the Israeli National Anthem.
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Michał Nesterowicz at its Premier Series concert "The New World", Auckland Town Hall, 10 August 2017