“The New World”: Symphony No. 9 (Dvořák)

Next to Antonio Vivaldi, Dvořák is one of my favorite composers. According to classical music historians, Dvořák was fascinated and inspired both by Native American music and the resonating soul of African-American folk culture. When Dvořák wrote Symphony No. 9 he embodied the essentials of these two cultures. He used their themes as subjects, all the while transforming their characteristic sounds into modern rhythms and glorious classical symphonies.

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On those weekend mornings I was introduced to wonderful masterpieces like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (“New World”), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”), and countless others. And so it happened that during those serene musical hours, seeds were planted in my soul, seeds of passion and devotion to classical music. So freezing weather was not going to keep me away from this Dvořák masterpiece.

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I relaxed in my seat and waited, full of anticipation for the upcoming concert. The first violinist, the cellist, and the horn section all quietly stepped on stage and took their seats to begin tuning their instruments. Minutes later, Powell Hall’s lights slowly dimmed; people’s backs straightened in their seats, there were a few last-minute coughs, and a rustle as cell phones were turned off. The concert was about to begin.

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