Antonin Dvorak

Article

July 1, 2022

Antonín Leopold Dvořák (Czech pronunciation: /ˈantoɲiːn ˈlɛopolt ˈdvor̝aːk/ Nelahozeves, September 8, 1841-Prague, May 1, 1904) was a post-romantic composer from Bohemia —a territory then belonging to the Austrian Empire—, one of the first composers Czechs to achieve worldwide recognition and one of the great composers of the second half of the 19th century. He frequently employed rhythms and other aspects of folk music from Moravia and his native Bohemia, following the example of his predecessor, the romantic-era nationalist Bedřich Smetana. Dvořák's style has been described as "the most complete recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing popular influences and finding effective ways to use them".[1] Dvořák showed his musical gifts at an early age, being a good violin student from the age of six. The first public performances of his works were in Prague in 1872 and, with particular success, in 1873, when he was 31 years old. Seeking recognition beyond the Prague area, he submitted a score of his First Symphony to a prize competition in Germany, but did not win, and the unreturned manuscript was lost until rediscovered many decades later. In 1874 he made a submission to the Austrian State Prize for Composition, including scores for two more symphonies and other works. Although he did not know it, Johannes Brahms was the main member of the jury and he was very impressed. He was awarded the prize in 1874 and again in 1876 and 1877, when Brahms and the prominent critic Eduard Hanslick, also a member of the jury, presented him. Brahms recommended Dvořák to his publisher, Fritz Simrock, who soon after commissioned what became Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. ​​Highly praised by the Berlin music critic Louis Ehlert in 1878, the score (of the original four-hand piano version) sold well and launched his international reputation. Dvořák's first religious piece, his arrangement of Stabat Mater, premiered in Prague in 1880. It was performed to great acclaim in London in 1883, leading to many other performances in the United Kingdom and the United States.[2] ] In his career, he made at least nine guest visits to England, often directing performances of his own works. The seventh symphony of him wrote it for London. Visiting Russia in March 1890, he conducted concerts of his own music in Moscow and St. Petersburg.[3] In 1891 he was appointed professor at the Prague Conservatory. Between 1890 and 1891, he wrote his Dumky Trio, one of his most successful pieces of chamber music. In 1892, he moved to the United States and became the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York. The president of the National Conservatory, Jeannette Thurber, offered him an annual salary of $15,000, twenty-five times what he was paid at the Prague Conservatory.[4] While in the United States, he wrote his two most successful orchestral works: the New World Symphony, which spread his reputation throughout the world,[5] and his Cello Concerto, one of the most respected of all cello concertos. In the summer of 1893, he moved from New York to Spillville, Iowa, following the advice of his secretary, Josef Jan Kovařík. Dvořák had originally planned to return to Bohemia, but Spillville was made up of mostly Czech immigrants, so he felt less homesick; he referred to it as his “Summer Vysoká.”[6] It was there that he wrote his most famous piece of chamber music, his String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, which was later dubbed the American Quartet. Shortly after his stay in Iowa, he extended his contract with the National Conservatory for another two years. however