Libor Pešek conducts Dvořák's Symphony No. 9, "From The New World"

The Prague Symphony Orchestra's Dvořák Cycle Vol. IV

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Prague Symphony Orchestra

Libor Pešek — Conductor

Program notes

The best orchestra of the Czech Republic performs the most popular work ever written by one of the country's composers: Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, "From the New World".

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.

Dvořák's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" is premiered by the New York Philharmonic at the Carnegie Hall in 1893. Enjoying an international fame, Dvořák was appointed director of the New York Conservatory from 1892 to 1895. Dvořák's stay in the United States was a perfect opportunity for the Czech composer to deepen his knowlegde of Native American music. The symphony's melodic themes are reminiscences of Dvořák's research. But in 1893, he explained in an article: "I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral colour."

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