Antonín Dvořák’s contributions to orchestral music are widely acclaimed by classical musicians and fans of classical music. Perhaps Dvořák’s most widely known work is his 9th symphony, known as the New World Symphony. On October 26th, 2018 at 7:30 PM, the Kentuckiana Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the first two movements of Dvořák’s famous work – the lively and captivating Adagio-Allegro Molto movement, and the mesmerizingly beautiful Largo movement. The orchestra will also perform works by Johann Strauss II, Joseph Haydn, and Gabriel Fauré.
The name New World Symphony was given to the work because of the influences North American culture had on the style of the piece. Dvořák wrote the piece during his time at the National Conservatory in New York in the 1890s, and many of the melodies in the piece are said to have been influenced by his personal discovery of Native-American and African-American traditional music. These influences, mixed with his longing for his home in the small village of Nelahozeves, near Prague in the Austrian Empire, gives the piece unprecedented depth, color, and emotion.
The first movement, which begins with a slow, somber introduction, is filled with expressive and lively melodies. In sections of the movement where every instrument’s rhythms are in unison, the orchestra explodes into an awe-inspiring display of majestic ferocity and color. However, there are sections of the first movement where the transformative beauty of the second movement are previewed.
The second movement, mostly widely known for its beautiful English horn solo, is difficult to surpass in terms of pure beauty. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful melodies in the orchestral repertoire. The introduction to the second movement highlights the brass section with seven colorful chords that decrescendo into silence as the strings begin their introduction to the iconic English horn solo. The movement ends with a repetition of the theme in the introduction, and a final chord in the basses that fades into silence.
Dvořák’s 9th is a piece that everyone should know and love; its connection to the United States gives it special significance to American musicians. We encourage you to join us for our October 26th performance at St. Matthews Baptist Church. We know you’ll fall in love with Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony No. 9 in E minor.