Sunday, 2 June 2013

9. Dvorak Symphony no.9 New World Symphony

Antonin Dvorak

Antonin Leopold Dvorak (1841-1904) was a Czech composer. Dvorak composed a total of nine symphonies, of which no.9 "New World Symphony" is the most popular. According to Wikipedia, "Neil Armstrong took a recording of the New World Symphony to the moon, during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969". Which proves that this is a great symphony.....right?

The symphony consists of four movements, as follows:
1. Adagio-Allegro molto (Slow and stately-Fast, lively and bright, but not too much)
2. Largo (Broadly)
3. Scherzo (Molto vivace) (Joke (Very lively and fast)
4. Allegro con fuoco (Fast, lively and bright with fire)

Antonin Dvorak Symphony no.9 New World Symphony Kertesz London Symphony Orchestra

There are a number of excellent recordings of the Dvorak Symphony no.9. My favourite is
the remastered recording with Istvan Kertesz conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. This is a recording from 1966 which has been remastered and sounds fantastic.

The first movement starts off fairly uneventfully, but really gets going after about a minute. The second movement (Largo) features arguably one of Dvorak's best loved melodies. Here played with exceptional tenderness. The final movement is thrilling. The opening bars are strangely reminicent of the "Jaws" soundtrack, but let's not forget who came first. The wave of climaxes starting from 6:08 till the end of the movement demonstrates the anticipation, excitement and passion that classical music can evoke, especially when played/conducted with such passion and drive.

Links to the recording (tracks 4-8):


Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9 - István Kertész & London Symphony Orchestra USA Store

Dvorak: Symphonies No. 8 & 9 - István Kertész & London Symphony Orchestra UK Store

Below is a video of the first movement played by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons during the 2010 Proms.

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