Smetana From The Homeland (Z domoviny, Aus der Heimat)

  1. Moderato
  2. Andantino – Moderato

Completed in the spring of 1880 shortly after Smetana finished his nationalistic tone poem cycle Má vlast, From My Homeland is a two movement work for violin and piano and one of only two works written by Smetana for this combination of instruments. He had by this point completely lost his hearing and he wrote of the work,

They are written in a simple style, with a view to being performed in the home rather than at concerts….They are genuinely national in character, but with my own melodies. 

Beginning in the warm key of A major, the first movement follows the tradition of Moravian folk melodies of constantly shifting between major and minor. A sense of yearning pervades the movement and the structure is made up of three sections with the middle offering the contrasts of a brief stormy outburst followed by a sustained period of calm. The movement ends with a restatement of the opening theme. The second movement is much more complex and varied and shares the the melodic material much more equally between the two instruments. It opens with a mournful recitative-like passage which builds towards a huge outburst of dramatic leaps in the violin. From the very top of the register the violin line then dissolves into yet another yearning melody which again oscillates between major and minor modes. This melody eventually itself dissolves completely into a rising pair of notes which form the motive for an exuberant dance in duple time called a skoèná. Despite two brief period of calm this joyous dance character builds towards the end of the piece, finishing with a spirited Presto.

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