Largo from Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”) (Dvorak) – Theme for Solo Piano

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Description

The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák became the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City in 1892 (a post he held until 1895). Whilst in North America, he became fascinated by Native American music and the African-American spirituals that he heard. After a commission in 1893 from the New York Philharmonic, he wrote the Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, also known as the “New World” Symphony – not only his most famous symphony but one of the most popular symphonies of all time.

The second movement (Largo) features the famous cor anglais solo, arranged here for solo piano. It was famously used in a British advert for the bread-brand Hovis and was adapted into the spiritual-like song “Goin’ Home” by one of Dvořák’s pupils in 1922.

Dvořák explained the Native-American influences in the symphony in an article published by the New York Herald: “I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral colour.”

A recording of the “New World” Symphony was taken along on the Apollo 11 mission by Neil Armstrong in 1969.

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Modern Classical

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