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Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904) was a Czechoslovakian composer of classical music. He spent most of his life in his home city of Prague, but it was during his visit to the United States that he wrote his most popular work, his ninth symphony From the New World. In this work he described landscapes that he had seen while visiting the USA.

It is a common legend that Dvorak used elements from American music like Spirituals and Native American music in that symphony. However, this is not the case, as Dvorak never claimed to have done so, and there is no similarity between the symphony and such elements.

Also while in the USA he heard a performance of a cello concerto by the composer Victor Herbert. He was so excited by the possibilities of the cello and orchestra combination displayed in this concerto that he wrote a cello concerto of his own, the Cello Concerto in B minor (1895). Since then the concerto he wrote has grown in popularity and today it is frequently performed. He also left an unfinished work, the Cello Concerto in A major (1865), which was completed and orchestrated by the German composer Günter Raphael between 1925 and 1929.

Dvorak's works were catalogued by Jamil Burghauser in Antonin Dvorák. Thematic Catalogue. Bibliography. Survey of Life and Work (Export Artia Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1960). In this catalogue, for example, the New World Symphony (Opus 95) is B178.

Czech composer Dvorák (1841-1904) has attained well-deserved popularity for the wealth of spontaneous lyricism and vigorous, folk-inspired rhythms that enliven his music. Dvorák's sensitivity to both Bohemian and American folk sources is evident in his most beloved chamber and symphonic compositions.

recommended recordings
Dvorak: Symphony no 9 / Kertsz, London Symphony Orchestra (Penguin Music Classics Series)
Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Conductor: István Kertész
Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
Uni/Penguin Classics - #460604 / September 29, 1998

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This entry in the new Penguin Music Classics collection presents one of the best readings of Dvorák's Ninth, From the New World. In her liner essay, playwright Wendy Wasserstein--author of the acclaimed Heidi Chronicles--describes playing the Ninth at blaring volumes on her discman as she traversed downtown Prague. And this is exactly how the music should be heard: loud. Dvorák's Ninth is, of course, so frequently played that it can become cumbersome, but Istvan Kertész and...Read more

  Dvorák: Symphonies nos 8 & 9 / Kubelik, Berlin PO
Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Conductor: Rafael Kubelik
Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Uni/Deutsche Grammophon - #47412 / February 13, 1996

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Rafael Kubelik recorded Dvorak's Ninth Symphony something like four times, but it's never sounded better than it does here. In fact, when these performances were first released, they set new standards in symphonic cogency and beauty of orchestral execution. On this disc they have been carefully remastered and paired on a single midpriced CD. What a deal! One of the biggest problems in collecting classical music is that you're often faced with an embarrassment of riches--so many really fine performances of the great works. Some of these, however, stand out as classic recordings of classical music, and Kubelik's Dvorak recordings clearly belong in this elite category. --David Hurwitz

Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Tchaikowsky / Rostropovich, Karajan
Composer: Antonín Dvorák, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich
Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Uni/Deutsche Grammophon - #47413 / January 23, 1996

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Mstislav Rostropovich is the world's greatest cellist, and he has actually made at least five recordings of this greatest of all cello concertos. I have a certain preference for his later version, with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Erato. This version has long been a prime recommendation, and in this new remastering at mid-price, it's an even better deal now. Herbert von Karajan accompanies with his usual expertise, and the Tchaikovsky performance is quite simply the finest...Read more

Dvorak: Stabat Mater

Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Conductor: Helmuth Rilling
Performer: Ingeborg Danz, Thomas Quasthoff, et al.
Ensemble: Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra
Hanssler - #98935 / September 3, 1996

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Since the Middle Ages, this text has inspired composers in two fundamental ways: they have set it to music in fulfillment of a vow to the Virgin Mary, whom they believe has answered some prayer or petition; or they have purged themselves of some personal sense of grief in setting this moving text, which describes her sorrow as she weeps at the foot of the cross. Between 1875 and 1876, Dvorák lost three of his children to illness or accident, and it's no wonder that he chose to express his sorrow...Read more

Dvorák: Slavonic Dances Opp 46 & 72 / Szell, Cleveland Orch

Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Conductor: George Szell
Ensemble: Cleveland Orchestra
Sony Classics - #48161 / June 2, 1992

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George Szell's dedication to Dvorák is well-documented on CD, most recently with the reissue of his outstanding recordings of Symphonies 7 through 9. But for many Dvorák lovers, his name will be forever associated with this sparkling set of Slavonic Dances, one of the outstanding recordings of the LP era. Along with Kubelik's DG recording, this is the only complete set of Dvorák's miniature masterpieces that deserves to be set alongside classic Czech versions by conductors...Read more

Dvorák: Piano Quintet, Piano Quartet / Pressler, Emerson Qt
Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Eugene Drucker, Lawrence Dutton, et al.
Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet
Uni/Deutsche Grammophon - #39868 / May 10, 1994

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The venerable pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio joins the Emerson Quartet for two memorable performances. To the uncommon clarity and rhythmic drive of the string players, Menahem Pressler adds some of his own expansive personality. The mix works beautifully. You can hear every note in the scores, and everything is played with great expression and enough rhythmic tension to keep the music flowing. If you don't know these gorgeous works, this is a great way to make their introduction; if you do know...Read more

works & recordings

  • Chamber Music
    Trios, Quartets, Quintets

  • Choral
    Secular and sacred choral music. Oratorios, Masses, Partsongs, Hymns, Carols

  • Instrumental
    Sonatas, Suites, Overtures, Minuets, Variations, Transcriptions, Dance Music

  • Orchestra
    Concertos, Symphonies

  • Theatrical Works
    Ballet, Stage, Incidental Music, Film Scores

  • Vocal and Opera
    Opera, Operetta, Song, Lieder, Musical Theater

Complete List of Works and Recordings

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