My Country during World War II
Smetana’s My Country has never been played as frequently as during the time of the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia. Owing to the national manifestations in which its concerts in Prague and dozens of other cities throughout the Protectorate resulted, the occupation authorities soon banned the performance of the piece as a whole (with the sections Tábor and Blaník not being allowed at all). On 11 and 12 February 1941 – upon Joseph Goebbels’s instruction – the Czech Philharmonic gave concerts in Berlin and Dresden, and Talich duly included the entire My Country in the programme. His venture passed through and, following the performances’ great success in the Reich, Smetana’s cycle could be played in its entirety in the Protectorate too. Nevertheless, the Czech Philharmonic also had to deliver concerts for the Nazi regime: in March 1942, the orchestra played My Country for the Czech National Socialist Union Vlajka (Flag), and in April 1944 they appeared within the gala marking the “55th Birthday of the Führer Adolf Hitler”.