Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) was instrumental in the establishment of a Czech national style. His operas were important models for the Czech nationalist music movement. Internationally, the best known of them is The Bartered Bride, ironically one of the few of Smetana’s operas who failed completely at its premiere. In his early fifties, Smetana started to experience a whistling in the ears, a symptom of brain damage caused by syphilis and soon leading to deafness. Smetana has depicted this experience in the string quartet From My Life. He finished his orchestral masterpiece Má Vlast (My Country) in 1879 but his illness accelerated and eventually made him go mad. The composer spent his last two years confined to an asylum. Piano works take up a dominant position in Smetana´s works of the 1840s and 50s, when the composer also ran a successful piano school. Franz Liszt aided Smetana in finding a publisher for some of his piano music. These compositions, most of them in standard dance genres – above all polkas – are rarely heard, but Smetana’s piano trio in g minor op. 15, written as a reaction to the death of his daughter, is an important work, summing up many of the composer´s musical thoughts.