Ma Vlast didn't drag as I feared it might - no doubt thanks to JB and the BBCSO...
A couple of reviews here:-
I wonder though if any of you know the concert performance history of Ma Vlast? Did Smetana actually intend all six pieces to be played as a whole - and how frequently was it played like this during his lifetime?
Wikipedia (if we take it at face value ) has this to say
"Má vlast (traditionally translated as "My Country", though more strictly meaning "homeland") is a set of six symphonic poems composed between 1874 and 1879 by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. While it is often presented as a single work in six movements and – with the exception of Vltava– is almost always recorded that way, the six pieces were conceived as individual works. They had their own separate premieres between 1875 and 1880; the premiere of the complete set took place on 5 November 1882 in Prague."
The full link is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A1_vlast
Does Ma Vlast work as an integral whole?