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Antonin Dvorak

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was a Czech 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 Symphony No.9 "From the New World".

It is sometimes said that Dvorak used elements from American music like Spirituals and Native American music[?] in that symphony. Dvorak was interested in these musics, but denied using any tunes from them in the symphony. In an article published in the New York Herald on December 15, 1893, he wrote "I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music". Despite this, it is generally considered that the work has more in common with the folk music of Dvorak's native Czechoslovakia than with American music.

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 Jarmil 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.

Further reading

  • John Clapham, Dvorak (David & Charles, 1979)

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