Born into a humble family settled in Nelahozeves, a village near Prague, Antonín Dvořák left school at the age of 11 to learn his father's trades, butcher and innkeeper. Thankfully, Antonín's precocious musical gifts are quickly noticed, and the young boy is sent to study at his uncles's plance in Zlonice, then to Prague from 1857 onwards. Playing the viola in the Prager Kappelle's orchestra, Dvořák familiarized himself with the classical and contemporary masterworks. Enjoying a well-established reputation from his peers and the internation audience, Dvořák is in his lifetime a Major figure on the musical scene. Invited in Germanay, in France, in the United Kingdom and in the United States, Dvořák eventually went back to his homeland to manage the Conservatory of Pragua. Dvořák, who died in 1904, left a considerable oeuvre which has ever since been performed on the stages worldwide.
Premiered on the 22nd of April 1885 by the London Philarmonic Society, the Symphony No. 7 is certainly Dvořák's stormiest, most Romantic and heroical work. Drawing his inspiration from the Third symphony by his friend Brahms, Dvořák shows a sensibility which is more German than Czech. This Romantic outburst is also a way for the composer to express a personal grief: adding the footnote "From the sad years" to his score, Dvořák makes an explicit reference to both his mother's and elder son's deaths during the period of composition.
The Prague Symphony Orchestra's Dvořák Cycle
The Prague Symphony Orchestra's Dvořák Cycle Vol. VI