The Moldau by Smetana (Die Moldau)is one of the most beautiful musical themes ever written. This free classical piano music is arranged for intermediate-level students, or highly motivated 2nd or 3rd year students.
Pianists need to be able to easily reach an octave with the left hand.
This beautiful music dramatizes the story of a river (called "Vltava" in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia, but "Moldau" in German) from its small beginnings as a stream high in the mountains where little breezes blow, to meanderings past country villages, to splashing waves and rushing torrents which finally empty into the Elbe River.
Though the left hand begins with what seems to be a repetitious pattern, notice that it quickly goes into chord inversions! These can be a real stumbling block for students who are not prepared for them. You might have good luck with this piece approaching as a duet for the first week or so... the left hand takes real focus.
In this piece, Smetana uses tone painting to evoke the sounds of one of Bohemia's great rivers. In his own words:
"The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer's wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night's moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft."
The Vltava swirls into the St. John's Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe (or Elbe, in German). Julius H.Jacobson and Kevin Kline (2002), The classical music experience: discover the music of the world's greatest composers. New York: Sourcebooks, p. 122.
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Paulette: Thanks so much for your amazing website. :0 Can't wait to share with my students. I bought the more difficult arrangement of "The Moldau". Seems like a great recital piece for some lucky student!!
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