Symphony No. 9 (Dvořák)
The Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, Op. 95, B. 178 (Czech: Symfonie č. 9 e moll „Z nového světa“), popularly known as the New World Symphony, was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893 while he was the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America from 1892 to 1895. It is by far his most popular symphony, and one of the most popular in the romantic repertoire. In older literature and recordings this symphony is often indicated as Symphony No. 5. Neil Armstrong took a recording of the New World Symphony to the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969.
This symphony is scored for an orchestra of the following:
- 2 flutes (one doubling piccolo)
- 2 oboes (one doubling on English horn)
- 2 clarinets in A and B♭ (B♭ in movement 2)
- 2 bassoons
- 4 horns in E, C and F
- 2 trumpets in E, C and E♭
- 2 tenor trombones
- Bass trombone
- Tuba (second movement only)
- Triangle (third movement only)
- Cymbals (fourth movement only)
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The piece has four movements:
- Adagio, 4/8 – Allegro molto, 2/4, E minor
- Largo, common time, D-flat major, then later C-sharp minor
- Scherzo: Molto vivace – Poco sostenuto, 3/4, E minor
- Allegro con fuoco, common time, E minor, ends in E major
I am convinced that the future music of this country must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them.
The symphony was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and premiered on December 16, 1893, at Carnegie Hall conducted by Anton Seidl. A day earlier, in an article published in the New York Herald on December 15, 1893, Dvořák further explained how Native American music had been an influence on this symphony:
In the same article, Dvořák stated that he regarded the symphony's second movement as a "sketch or study for a later work, either a cantata or opera ... which will be based upon Longfellow's [The Song of] Hiawatha" (Dvořák never actually wrote such a piece). He also wrote that the third movement scherzo was "suggested by the scene at the feast in Hiawatha where the Indians dance".
Curiously enough, passages that modern ears perceive as the musical idiom of African-American spirituals may have been intended by Dvořák to evoke a Native American atmosphere. In 1893, a newspaper interview quoted Dvořák as saying "I found that the music of the negroes and of the Indians was practically identical", and that "the music of the two races bore a remarkable similarity to the music of Scotland". Most historians agree that Dvořák is referring to the pentatonic scale, which is typical of each of these musical traditions.
In a 2008 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, prominent musicologist Joseph Horowitz asserts that African-American spirituals were a major influence on the ninth symphony, quoting Dvořák from an 1893 interview in the New York Herald as saying, "In the negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music."
Despite all this, it is generally considered that, like other Dvořák pieces, the work has more in common with folk music of his native Bohemia than with that of the United States. Leonard Bernstein averred that the work was truly multinational in its foundations.
At the symphony's premiere the reception was one of perpetual cheering. The end of every movement was met with thunderous clapping and Dvořák felt obliged to stand up and bow.
Several themes from the symphony have been used widely in films, TV shows, anime, video games, and advertisements.
The song "Goin' Home" 
The theme from the Largo was adapted into the spiritual-like song "Goin' Home", often mistakenly considered a folk song or traditional spiritual, by Dvořák's pupil William Arms Fisher, who wrote the lyrics in 1922. Dvořák himself may have modelled the tune on the spirituals written by composer Harry Burleigh, whom he met during his sojourn in America.
- Crowndozen.com, November 7, 2007
- The scoring of piccolo in this symphony is extremely unusual; although the English horn is brought in for the famous solo in the second movement, the piccolo plays only a short phrase in the first, and nothing else.
- Tuba is only scored in the second movement. According to the full score book published by Dover, phrases "Trombone basso e Tuba" is indicated in the some measures in the second movement; the bass trombone is used with the two tenor trombones in movements 1, 2 and 4.
- Gutmann, Peter. "Dvorak's "New World" Symphony". Classical Classics. Classical Notes. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- Freed, Richard (September 2001). "Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, Op. 95". The Kennedy Center. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- Beckerman, Michael. "About the Hiawatha Melodrama" (pdf). josephhorowitz.com. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- Kerkering, John D.; Gelpi, Albert; Posnock, Ross (2003). The Poetics of National and Racial Identity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83114-8.
- Beckerman, Michael Brim (2003). New Worlds of Dvorak: Searching in America for the Composer's Inner Life. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04706-7.
- Clapham, John (1958). "The Evolution of Dvorak's Symphony "From the New World"". The Musical Quarterly (Oxford University Press): 167–183.
- Horowitz, Joseph (11 January 2008). "New World Symphony and Discord". The Chronicle of Higher Education.(subscription required)
- Leonard Bernstein: the 1953 American Decca recordings. DGG 477 0002. Comments on the 2nd compact disc.
- Otakar Šourek, Antonín Dvořák: his life and works, Philisophical library, 1954, p.59; Glenn Watkins, Proof through the night: music and the Great War, Volume 1, University of California Press, 2003, p.273.; Franya J. Berkman, Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane, Wesleyan University Press, 2010, p.88.
- Keller, James M. (c2013). "Program Notes: Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Opus 95, From the New World". San Francisco Symphony. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- Franya J. Berkman, Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane, Wesleyan University Press, 2010, p.88.
- Smith, Jane Stuart; Carlson, Betty (1995). The Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence. Crossway Books. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-89107-869-2. Retrieved 2012-09-09. "The largo of the second movement has a hauntingly beautiful melody played by the English horn. There is a sense of longing about it, and a spiritual has been adapted from it, 'Going Home'"
- "Goin Home: Antonin Dvorak & William Arms Fisher". 17 October 2007. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
Further reading 
- Brown, A. Peter (2003). The symphonic repertoire 4. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 410–436. ISBN 0-253-33488-8.
- Goepp, Philip Henry (1913). Symphonies and their meaning: Third series: Modern symphonies. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. pp. 195–207.
- Kurt Honolka (de) (2004). Dvořák. London: Haus Publishing. ISBN 1-904341-52-7.
- Symphony No. 9: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Score from Indiana University
- Score from Mutopia Project
- Free recording by the Columbia University Orchestra
- A visual analysis of the first movement on YouTube
- True Story of "Goin' Home" – From Bohemia to Boston
- Lyrics and Discussion on "Going Home"
- "New World Symphony : Complete listing of the recordings" (in French). MusicaBohemica.