Composers' Great Works the Result of Two Trips

The Journal (Newcastle, England), March 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

Composers' Great Works the Result of Two Trips


IN the competition to find the North East's favourite orchestral symphony, we turn today to works by Dvor[sz]k and Berlioz.

You can vote for your favourite symphony by going to www.journallive.co.uk/culture and clicking on the link.

The competition has been set up by Orchestra North East and sponsor Lowes Financial Management in association with The Journal.

The symphony which attracts the most votes will be performed by the orchestra in a concert at The Sage Gateshead on June 12 in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

For tickets, call 0191 443 4661 or go online at www.thesagegateshead.org Dvor[sz]k's New World Symphony YOU might think you don't know classical music but you really do. Even if you don't go to concerts or listen to CDs, it'll seep into your life somehow.

Remember the famous Hovis advert showing the boy pushing his bike up a steep cobbled hill? The ad was filmed by Ridley Scott and the music was taken from the largo (slow and dignified bit) of Dvor[sz]k's New World Symphony. Antonin Dvor[sz]k was a Czech composer born in a village near Prague in 1841. His father was a professional zither player but also an innkeeper and a butcher. He hoped his son would follow in his footsteps - and become a butcher.

But he studied music at an organ school in Prague and became an accomplished player of violin and viola. He wrote his first string quartet at the age of 20.

In 1877, he was taken under the wing of German composer Johannes Brahms, whom he admired. Brahms helped to elevate him to star status.

Dvor[sz]k visited London nine times and also visited Russia.

In 1892, he moved to America, becoming director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. He became fascinated with American music and, in 1893, wrote his Symphony no. 9, "From the New World".

He said it was inspired partly by Native American and African American music.

After its premiere in New York's Carnegie Hall, the audience applauded thunderously, forcing the composer to stand and bow. …

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