DVORAK SYMPHONY NO. 9
Between the New World and the Old – A timeless musical feast
"What I compose is and always remains Czech music," asserted Antonín Dvorák, and we – the audiences who've been enraptured with the Ninth since its world premiere at New York's Carnegie Hall on 15 December 1893 – are all the richer for it. After a fleeting nod to Negro Spirituals and vaguely Native American rhythms, Dvorák dug into his seemingly bottomless reserve of catchy melodies, foot-tapping rhythms, burnished brass intonations, mellow woodwind lines and other Bohemian traits that would be unthinkable without the pillars of Austro-Germanic music.
Of course, the work would most probably never have been written if it hadn't been for a patron, or patroness, to be more precise, Jeanette Thurber, who founded the National Conservatory of Music of America and invited the composer to New York in the hope that he would give birth to a national American music; he had, after all, created a national Czech music...
The Ninth's "sharply profiled landscape" sketched by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the incomparable Mariss Jansons was, in the words of the daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, a "musical feast." And London's The Guardian went so far as to proclaim the orchestra "one of the world's great ensembles."