Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dvorak: Symphony #7

I'm going to start with the Czech composer Dvorak (1841-1904) and his 7th Symphony, written in 1885.

Of course, everybody who even slightly knows any classical music will know Dvorak's 9th Symphony, or at least recognize the famous melody in the second movement.

But I already know that one. So I'm starting with the somewhat more obscure 7th.

I actually have two recordings of Dvorak's 7th: one is by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch in a 1990 CD of Dvorak's Symphony #7 and Symphony #8; the other is the London Symphony Orchesta in a 2001 CD, conducted by Sir Colin Davis in a live recording.

The Philly Orchestra recording is considerably better. It sounds cleaner and fuller. And something about the London Symphony's trumpet players bugs me--they feel underfed and they play off key at times. But those are minor criticisms.

There's actually a New York connection with Dvorak, as he was the director the New York Conservatory of Music from 1892-1895. It was during this period that Dvorak wrote his famous 9th Symphony, "From the New World."

A couple of other interesting tidbits about Dvorak: Brahms (one of my favorite composers--we'll be spending quite a bit of time with him this year) helped him out quite a bit early in his career. Also, Dvorak also had nine, count 'em, nine children.

1 comment:

Mumsicles said...

great one to start with!

Don't forget to loudly sing "EVERYBODY LOVES MRS. MURPHY" to the last movement!!