Bedřich Smetana was born in modern day Czech Republic in 1824. He was a natural on the piano and at the age of six, gave his first public performance. He studied music in Prague but could not find work there, so he left for Sweden where he worked as a teacher and choirmaster. When he eventually returned to his native Prague, he was quite prolific, and he made a reputation for himself as the father of Czech music. His best known works are his opera “The Bartered Bride” and Ma Vlast (My Motherland),.

Ma Vlast
The music charted the river Vltava (or Moldau) from its source in the Bohemian Mountains until it flowed into the River Elba - more precisely it charted his country’s landscape, history and legends. This was the world championship test piece in 2005.
Smetana suffered quite some criticism in later life, which may well have affected his health - he passed his final days in a mental institution.