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I'm still a novice in the world of classical music and every week or so I discover something new and amazing. My shiny new toy for the past few weeks though has been Anton Dvorak. Anton Dvorak was Czech, born in Prague in 1841. He died in 1904, also in Prague. He wrote a wide range of music from opera to symphonies. However he is particularly well known for two pieces of music, his Ninth Symphony and Cello Concerto. He wrote his Ninth Symphony (aka The New World Symphony or 'From the New World') after spending 3 years (from 1892-5)in America as a director of the National Conservatory in New York. He taught composition while producing the Ninth Symphony, the String Quartet in F, the String Quintet in E-flat and the Cello Concerto. Due to his loyalty to his family and country (as well as finanical difficulties) he returned to Czechoslovakia where he wrote symphonic poems and the fairytale opera Rusalka (1901). His works show the influence of Czech folk music. Particularly in The Ninth Symphony one can also hear the influence of American Negro and folk music. However there is no direct lift of melodies from the American music. He admired compsosers such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert. The Cello Concerto is a very deep, brooding and almost troubled piece of music. Many people (myself included) consider it to be the finest Cello Concerto ever written. If you fancy a listen try the Rostroprovich version on Deutsche Gramophone. The Ninth Symphony is more light-hearted and I find it great fun. It is especially wonderful to listen to live but it also makes for an uplifting piece of music to put on at home. It is chocked full of magical tunes and melodies. You'll definitely recognise a few - especially the Hovis Bread theme tune which Hovis borrowed from the Ninth Symphony. Again Deutsche Gramphone have several great recordings but most other labels also have great recordings since it is
so popular. I can promise you that even if you only like classical music a bit you will find the Ninth Symphony amazing and it may even persuade you to find out more about this amazing man!!
Anton Dvorak, he's the one that wrote that music for the famous Hovis bread adverts. Well, he didn't write the music for them, Hovis decided that his New World Symphony would be the perfect music for advertising their bread. I suppose it did work quite well, who doesn't start humming the tune as they think of Hovis?? Anyway, Anton Dvorak was born in Prague in 1841 and had lessons in singing, on violin, organ and piano. His New World Symphony was written after a 3yr visit to America, and supposedly contains some elements of the Black slaves music, although there are no actual Negro tunes used in it. He also wrote many operas and is also very well known as the writer of one of the most popular 'cello concerto's ever written. If you enjoy the music from the Hovis Bread advert and want to hear more music from the same composer then I can heartily recommend buying yourself a CD of Dvorak's music.........and don't forget the Hovis.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 1. Allegro con brio
2 2. Adagio
3 3. Allegretto grazioso - Molto vivace
4 4. Allegro ma non troppo
5 1. Adagio - Allegro molto
6 2. Largo
7 3. Scherzo (Molto vivace)
8 4. Allegro con fuoco