Orchestre d'Harmonie


from Symphony No.9 - New World Symphony
aus der Sinfonie Nr.9 - Aus der neuen Welt -

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The 9th symphony of the Czech composer Antonín Dvorák marks both the endpoint and the climax in his symphonic musical production. His best known and most popular work, which he composed between December 1882 and May 1893, was first produced in the New York Carnegie Hall on December 16, 1893. Its subtitle “New World Symphony” triggered a multitude of legends which apparently cannot be disposed once and for all. Some people assume that the symphony is essentially determined by music that Dvorák encountered in America. They do this in spite of the explanation by Dvorák’s friend Kovarík who stated that the subtitle must con be construed as a programmatic explanation of what is going on in music, it merely is a title that was added by Dvorák in a spontaneous way. It simply stands for “impressions and greetings from the New World”.
The Czech composer who dearly loved his homeland came to the United States for a first time in 1892. He followed an invitation of the New York millionaire Jeanette Thurber who had founded the National Conservatory for Music in 1885. She submitted a two-years’-contract to him that was both financially and artistically enticing, as it called for an annual engagement of eight months as teacher in composition and conductor. The composer accepted this offer after a longer period of hesitation.
At first, the manifold activities and duties in New York kept him from composing. Finally, around the Christmas season of 1892 he found the leisure necessary to do so. He rapidly drafted a new symphony. The composition was triggered by Henry Wad
At the same time Dvorák was subject to a considerable pressure to succeed as the symphony was the first work that he had composed in the United States, and he yet had to prove his abilities in the first place. The melodic material, which he used is not “American”, it is only the environmental atmosphere of the music of the black Americans and Indians, which Dvorák brought to life by applying specific traits to it.

The slow movement, the largo, probably is the most famous section of the symphony. At first the composer referred to it as “Legend”, but then did away with this term. In it the English horn recites an air, in which the endless distances and the wide open spaces of the prairies become apparent. This movement is, without any doubt, one of the most beautiful pieces that the composer ever set to music.

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