Jean-François Zygel presents a program on Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World." Movement after movement, he examines the Czech composer’s masterpiece with a fine-tooth comb, exploring its origins, inspirations, and musical richness. At his side are the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the direction of Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, who together illustrate Zygel’s narration.
Written shortly after the composer’s arrival in the United States and premiered in December of 1893 at New York’s Carnegie Hall, the New World Symphony is Dvořák’s great “American” work, and one of Western classical music’s most celebrated symphonies. Dvořák drew inspiration for the piece’s themes from uniquely American musical traditions: as he described it, “I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of Indian music, and using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, harmony, counterpoint, and orchestral color.”
Les Clefs de l'orchestre (“The Keys of the Orchestra”) is a pedagogical concert series hosted by Jean-François Zygel at Paris’ Maison de la Radio. Aiming give a broad public the keys to understanding the symphonic repertoire, the pianist and improviser addresses fundamental questions like: What is a symphony? What is the role of each orchestral instrument? What is a variation? What is a theme? In the company of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the direction of prestigious conductors, Zygel deconstructs symphonic masterpieces of Western classical music with humor, contextualizing the music and clarifying questions both fundamental and complex.
The Prague Symphony Orchestra's Dvořák Cycle Vol. IV
Jean-François Zygel's Keys to the Orchestra
BBC Proms, 1974 and 1975