Blog Posts By

John Gibbons holds a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Chicago. He teaches music appreciation classes at the Universality of Chicago’s Graham School and at Newberry Library. He also offers private piano lessons in the Chicago area.

Bonnie Gibbons is a web site developer and SEO with a background in classical music. She might be persuaded to teach a few cello lessons in the Chicago area.

A Splendid CD

Smetana: Macbeth and the Witches; Dvorak: Prelude to Spectre’s Bride, The Water Goblin, and The Hussites, Prague Symp.With Smetacek, Czech Phil with Chalarala, on Urania.

I can’t promise that these magnificently virile performances are still available, of course Arkiv has so much, maybe they have it.  

If you don’t know the Smetana poem (1859), run don’t walk to hear it. It has a terrifying grandeur and a thrilling  visceral impact. It is also strangely “modern” sounding; It is easily on the level of Ma Vlast; in fact, a little more daring, so to speak.  The Dvorak “Water Goblin” is attractive and scintillatingly colorful, it is, however exceedingly repetitive. If you don’t hate the water goblin for being an infanticide, you may hate him for smearing his theme all over the score with such greediness for attention. “The Hussites” concert overture (1883) ought to please those who are aficionados of Smetana’s “Tabor” and “Blanik”. It is indeed similar: Dvorak wrote it for the rebuilding of the Czech National Theatre in Prague, after a disastrous fire. Compare what Smetana was doing half a generation before Dvorak’s overture. As I’ve said again and again, musical progress doesn’t follow a straight line from the less “modern” to the more “modern”…

A Note on Smetana's Macbeth

Four Nights, Three Tristans