Anton Dvořák

Anton Dvořák

Anton Dvořák

Anton Dvořák

Excerpt

Such a master as Dvořák did not drop out of the blue upon the world. At a superficial glance, it seems as if with Smetana and Dvořák the flower of Czech music had sprung suddenly into being. In reality, this was only the blossoming of a renascent spirit. Centuries of enforced silence weighed down upon the Czechs of the pre-romantic age. There was no actual Czechish life and hence, apparently, no Czechish music. But there was the Bohemian "Musikant" (musicmaker). It is true, he was to be found not merely in Bohemia but everywhere.

He has to be seen at work, and perhaps, we must even have something of his being in ourselves, if we are to understand and interpret the Bohemian Musikant. Then words will no longer be necessary. Picture him to yourself, this fiddler, clarinettist, trombone-player, or what have you, sitting at a table, probably in some rustic inn-garden, with his glass of beer before him, having enjoyed a hearty meal of coarse but savory Bohemian food. Suddenly the spirit moves him, he is transformed into an artist. There follows inevitably the full flood of melody, unfailing rhythm, infectious temperament. Nobody and nothing can withstand this thraldom.

In Bohemian folk-tales, the Musikant fetches back the . . .

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