Digital Program Bychkov

symphony no. 8 in g major, op. 88 ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Dvořák was nearly fifty when he wrote his Eighth Symphony, and by then his early years of struggle and poverty were being improved by the honors that were coming his way. A grant he received as part of an award allowed him to concentrate on composing, without the distractions of other duties. Dvořák began his Eighth Symphony on 26 August 1889 and completed it on 8 November 1889. It was premiered under Dvořák's direction in Prague on 2 February 1890, and was dedicated to the Austrian emperor, Franz Josef. Among Dvořák's nine symphonies, the Eighth is second in popularity to the "New World" symphony (no. 9), although its unusual musical structure made it somewhat controversial in its day. It was composed during Dvořák's annual summer retreat to the country, and his happiness and contentment with his surroundings shine through the music. Those months in 1889 were so richly productive for the composer that he confessed a certain frustration to his friend Alois Göbl, because his head was "so full of ideas" that he simply could not write them down quickly enough. In this work Dvořák essentially frees himself from the formal confines of the Sonata-form and composes a seemingly spontaneous flow of thematic ideas. The symphony also represents a change in style for Dvořák, more rhapsodic than contrapuntal. At the time he was writing it, Dvořák was flooded with commissions for other works. As a result, he avoided some of the instrumental intricacies that a more complex symphony would require. Dvořák said of this symphony: "[It] will be different from other symphonies, with individual thoughts sorted out in a new way." This was confirmed by Hermann Kretzschmar, an early analyst of Dvořák's work, who claimed that it wasn't really even a symphony: the themes in the first movement do not develop according to the symphonic norm. With the changes of political and national boundaries over the years, Dvořák's work is described today as essentially Czech. This symphony is the most overtly nationalistic of the nine he composed; it displays a flood of folk-derived themes and reflects its creator with its warm emotionalism and pastoral satisfaction. Dvořák's Czech biographer agreed that the symphony was not important for its form, but for its spirit: "This symphony is not profound... it is a simple lyric singing ca. 36 mins. Allegro con brio Adagio Allegretto grazioso - Molto vivace Allegro ma non troppo