Beethoven is not the only composer to have written some of his most important
works while suffering devastating hearing loss. The 19th century composer
Bedrich Smetana began work on six symphonic tone poems, collectively titled "Ma
Vlast" (My Fatherland) in 1879. Each of the individually titled pieces is a
loving tribute to the geographic landmarks and cultural milestones of the
composer's homeland of Bohemia. It took Smetana 15 years to complete "Ma Vlast",
but because he had lost his hearing almost five years before he began writing
it, he never heard a single note of his most enduring work.