The Golden Spinning Wheel (Dvořák)

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The Golden Spinning Wheel (Czech: Zlatý kolovrat), Op. 109, B. 197, is a symphonic poem for orchestra by Antonín Dvořák, composed from January to April of 1896. The work is inspired by the poem of the same name found in Kytice, a collection of folk ballads by Karel Jaromír Erben.

A semi-public performance was given at the Prague Conservatory on 3 June 1896 conducted by Antonín Bennewitz. Its first full public premiere was in London on 26 October 1896, under the baton of Hans Richter.[1]

It is scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, harp, and strings. A typical performance lasts approximately 27 minutes.

Story[edit]

While out riding, a king happens upon a young lady, Dornička, and falls in love with her. He requests her step-mother to bring her to his castle. The step-mother and step-sister set out taking Dornička to the king's castle. On the way, they murder her, hack off her feet and hands, and cut out her eyes. The step-sister poses as Dornička soon marrying the king, after which, he is called away to battle.

Meanwhile, in the forest, a magician has found Dornička's remains and he decides to bring her back to life. He sends a page to the castle to persuade the step-sister to part with "two feet" in return for a golden spinning wheel, "two hands" for a golden distaff, and "two eyes" for a golden spindle. The body complete again, the magician brings Dornička back to life.

The king returns from battle to hear the golden spinning wheel tell the gruesome details of Dornička's murder. The king goes off into the forest to be reunited with her.

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