Montgomery Philharmonic 2016 - 17

Our 11th Season – Inspired by…

Concert 1, October 23, 2016 – Inspired by Dance

About Antonin Leopold Dvořák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer. Following the nationalist example of Bedřich Smetana, he frequently employed features of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. In addition to composing, Dvořák was also a very fine music administrator. From 1892 to 1895, he was the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. During this time, Dvořák also spent time learning about American music. He wrote a series of newspaper articles supporting the concepts of Native American music and African-American music as the basis for what would later be known as American music. His most famous compositions while living in the United States were Symphony No. 9 – “To the New World,” two string quartets, the B minor Cello Concerto, and a sonatina for violin and piano. Dvořák also did some conducting while in the United States. In addition to conducting the school orchestra at concerts during the school year as part of his administrative responsibilities, he also conducted the 8th Symphony at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

Born: September 8, 1841, Nelahozeves, Czech Republic
Died: May 1, 1904, Prague, Czech Republic
Nationality: Czech
Compositions: : 9 Symphonies, 5 Symphonic poems, 4 major choral works including a mass, concerti for violin, cello, and piano, 40 chamber works, several operas, 3 song cycles, 2 sets of Slavonic Dances
Parents: Ersilia Putti, Giuseppe Respighi
Spouse: Anna Čermáková (m/1873–1904)
Otakar Dvořák,Josefa Dvořáková, Otilie Dvořáková, Ružena Dvořáková, Antonín Dvořák

Slavonic Dance No. 1 for orchestra in C major, B. 83/1, Opus 46 (1878) – Antonin Dvorák (1854–1904) – No. 1 - Presto, C major (furiant)
Dvorák wrote two sets of Slavonic Dances, Opus 46 and Opus 72. No. 1 in C major, is in the form of a furiant (a swagger’s dance), though the name of this characteristic Czech dance has no etymological connection with the English word “fury.” Its character is fiery and impulsive, but in a cheerful, exuberant frame. Dvořák used this form at the end of this set as well as the beginning, and also for the scherzo movements of his String Sextet, Op. 48, and his Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60. The Opus 46 set of dances was commissioned by Dvořák’s publisher, Simrock, after the broad-based success of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance. The original commission was for piano duet, and Dvořák completed the set of eight dances in about two months. He took great care to be sure that the piano version was well within the reach of amateur musicians. The Slavonic Dances were a huge success. While Dvořák was composing for piano, he had the orchestrations in mind, so when the time came to orchestrate the piano version, he was able to truly capture the spirit of life in Bohemia.
It is significant that he named these pieces
Slavonic Dances rather than Czech Dances. Although most of the eight dances are Czech forms, Dvořák knew that he would bring out a second set of dances eventually. Opus 72 came out nine years later. This set draws more from the dance forms of Serbia, Poland, and Ukraine. It is also important to note that, unlike Brahms’ dances, Dvořák does not use any actual folk tunes in his dances. Rather, he creates themes in the authentic style of the folk music that he knew. Also, Dvořák approached the writing of his dances with a broader objective in mind, so that each of them, especially in the orchestral setting, would strike the listener as a concise ethnic rhapsody in the guise of an idealized dance form.

Instrumentation – piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, cymbals, bass drum, triangle, strings