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1893 – Dvorak Symphony No. 9

 

1893 Antonin Dvorak Symphony No. 9 ‘New World’
Instrumentation Strings, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani
Movements I: Adagio – Allegro Molto (e) II: Largo (Db) III: Scherzo: Molto vivace (e) IV: Allegro ma non troppo (e – E)
Overview The Czech composer Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony was written whilst he was living and working in America. The subtitle has encouraged audiences and scholars to seek out the influence of American and Afro-American folk music in the symphony and many contemporaries felt that the Czech had somehow shown US composers how to incorporate such influences into their musical language. The famous second movement was used in a Hovis advert in the 80s and the work has been a Classic FM staple ever since. See the full score here.
A) Overall form (and E) In the last movement Dvorak incorporates music from the previous three, particularly at the end where there are a succession of loose quotations from previous movements leading into the final repetition of the main finale theme.

Allegro from the first movement:

Opening of second movement:

Opening of third movement:

Opening of fourth movement:

NOW, listen to where all these themes appear during the ending:

 

 

L) Folk, dance etc. The music is full of modal inflections (like the flattened seventh in the main theme of the last movement) and syncopations (as in the Allegro in the first movement) that could loosely be inspired by almost any folk tradition, including that of Dvorak’s native Czechoslovakia and/or the Afro-American and native American music that the composer undoubtedly heard a great deal of during his stay.