Digital Program - Znaider

best of Brahmsian tradition (Brahms was a close friend and mentor of Dvorak). Its flowing and lyrical tunes seemingly stem from each other. This is, in many ways, a symphony "From the Old World". Much has been said and written on this well-known symphony, yet Dvořák himself refrained from trying to explain it, claiming that it has a pure musical meaning. Only after having read and heard time and again the speculations regarding his socalled quotations of folk tunes from the Indigenous and African-American traditions, and even from marches by Souza (which were actually written later), from Jazz and Boogie-Woogie, did he express his reservations: "I have not actually used any of the folk melodies. I have simply written original themes and motifs embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, harmony, counterpoint and orchestral color". To those who claimed that one can find direct quotations from popular folk songs in the symphony, Dvořák answered that he did not use the tunes themselves and that he was only inspired by them. According to him, the similarity stems from the fact that several tunes are written in a pentatonic scale (a scale of five tones, characteristic of many types of traditional ethnic music). The idea for the subtitle stemmed from a printed postcard "Impressions and happy memories from the New World" that the homesick Dvořák sent to his family and friends in Europe. The symphony opens with a slow introduction, Adagio, introvert and pensive, combining a vein of yearning and dramatic atmosphere, anticipating the rest of the work. The main theme resounds in the horn, and after a transition in the character of a Czech (and not American) dance, the second main theme appears, delicate and lyrical in folklore spirit, played by flutes and oboes. This tune is said to be "Indian" in character, since the accompaniment is built of one recurring note and because the melody is modal, as customary in ancient folk music. This theme is followed by another melody, resembling the wellknown spiritual "Swing low, sweet chariot". The development section, in the manner of the Classic-Romantic sonata form, abounds with enthusiasm and drive, characteristic of various rustic dances in the best EuropeanSlavic tradition. Surprising harmonic innovations and alternations between major and minor reflect a free and bold approach. The movement ends in sweeping exuberance. The second movement, Largo, is the longest and best known of the symphony's movements. After a chorale-like introduction, played by the brass, the English horn intones a yearning, lilting melody. This tune became immensely popular as a "spiritual" called Going Home, known to millions who have never even heard of Dvorak. However, this song is not actually a spiritual, but is based on Dvorak's own and exclusive melody. William Adams Fisher, Dvorak's pupil, wrote the lyrics on his own initiative, after Dvorak returned to Bohemia. The atmosphere of the main delicate and lyrical tune lingers on and invites a warm, moving and expressive melody, first in the woodwinds and then in the strings. This is followed by a dreamy and pastoral theme, ending with a surprising rhythmical invention, typical of European music. Now a fourth tune is heard, in the style of an ancient Gigue.