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ACCEPT - The Moldau (B. Smetana) WORK

Early in 1848, Smetana wrote to Franz Liszt, whom he had not yet met, asking him to accept the dedication of a new piano work, Six Characteristic Pieces, and recommend it to a publisher. He also requested a loan of 400 florins, to enable him to open a music school. Liszt replied cordially, accepting the dedication and promising to help find a publisher, but he offered no financial assistance.[30][31] This encouragement was the beginning of a friendship that was of great value to Smetana in his subsequent career.[32] Despite Liszt's lack of financial support, Smetana was able to start a Piano Institute in late August 1848, with twelve students.[33] After a period of struggle the Institute began to flourish and became briefly fashionable, particularly among supporters of Czech nationalism, in whose eyes Smetana was developing a reputation. Proksch wrote of Smetana's support for his people's cause, and said that he "could well become the transformer of my ideas in the Czech language."[34] In 1849 the institute was relocated to the home of Kateřina's parents, and began to attract distinguished visitors; Liszt came regularly, and the former Austrian emperor Ferdinand, who had settled in Prague, attended the school's matinée concerts.[34] Smetana's performances in these concerts became a recognised feature of Prague's musical life. In this time of relative financial stability Smetana married his beloved, the young pianist Kateřina Kolářová, on 27 August 1849. Four daughters were born to the couple between 1851 and 1855.[31]

ACCEPT - The Moldau (B. Smetana)

In September, Smetana told the theatre he would resign his appointment unless his health improved.[83] He had become totally deaf in his right ear, and in October lost all hearing in his left ear also. After his subsequent resignation the theatre offered him an annual pension of 1,200 florins for the continued right to perform his operas, an arrangement Smetana reluctantly accepted.[84] Money raised in Prague by former students, and by former lover Fröjda Benecke in Gothenburg, amounted to 1,244 florins.[85] This allowed Smetana to seek medical treatment abroad, but to no avail.[58] In January 1875 Smetana wrote in his journal: "If my disease is incurable, then I should prefer to be liberated from this life."[86] His spirits were further lowered at this time by a deterioration in his relationship with Bettina, mainly over money matters.[87] "I cannot live under the same roof as a person who hates and persecutes me," Smetana informed her.[88] Although divorce was considered, the couple stayed unhappily together.[89]

There are several stories of great musicians who battled deafness yet continued to compose. Of course, Beethoven comes to mind. We all know his struggle to accept the impending loss of his hearing, and yet he continued to write miraculous music late into his life even without being able to hear the sounds that he wrote. Another composer who suffered a similar fate was Bedřich Smetana.

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