Digital Program Smith Gluzman MultiPiano

Carnival Overture, op. 92 ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) In autumn-winter of 1891-2 Dvořák wrote a cycle of three overtures, originally intended to be performed consecutively as one work entitled Nature, Life, Love. All three express Dvořák's personal philosophy and view of the three dominant powers of human existence. Carnival represents life, and was composed between In Nature's Realm and Othello, which depict Nature and Love respectively. The premiere in Prague in April 1892, conducted by the composer, was part of Dvořák's farewell concert before leaving for the USA. The works were played under the original title, all with the same catalogue number, op. 91. Dvořák later dedicated In Nature's Realm to Cambridge University and Carnival to the Czech University in Prague. Dvořák himself claimed that these overtures could be considered program music, and indeed, their essence is reflected in their titles: the emotions and feelings evoked at the sight of nature's beauty on a summer's nights are depicted in the first of the three, In Nature's Realm; the second, Carnival, depicts life's bustle and gaiety; and the third, Othello, illustrates the tragedy of love consumed in the fury of jealousy. In Carnival, Dvořák sought to depict the experiences of a lonely wanderer, reaching, at twilight, a Bohemian town, where a lively carnival is taking place. He soon loses himself in the inebriating celebrations, amidst loving couples and bothersome clowns. In the dark, a young couple sneaks off for a brief and pleasant conversation. The crowd soon catches up with them, and the festivities go on. Music is heard everywhere, merging with the joyous and uninhibited cries and laughter of the singing and dancing crowd. The overture opens with a commotion befitting its title. A brief moment of tranquility prevails with the appearance of the pensive second theme. The soft and sweet melody of the oboe and clarinet is one of the most beautiful melodies ever written by Dvořák. A melancholic episode, completely contrasted with the lively atmosphere of the beginning of the work, features a delicate pastoral melody for solo flute, followed by the violin. In the background, the English horn plays a persistently repeated figuration ( ostinato), a reminder of the atmosphere that pervades the first overture of the cycle, In Nature's Realm. This reminder is further emphasized when Dvořák quotes the main theme of In Nature's Realm: the cuckoo call played by the clarinet and English horn. The episode links the lively and effervescent exposition with the contrapuntal development. The recapitulation restores the enthusiasm and brilliance of the beginning, and they do not subside until the conclusion of the work. Dvorit Oren ca. 10 mins.