Montgomery Philharmonic 2017 - 18

Our 12th Season : Old Friends … New Friends

Concert 1, Sunday, October 29, 2017 : Old Friends … New Friends

About Antonín Leopold Dvořák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer whose earliest musical training was as a violinist and a pianist. Following the nationalist example of Bedřich Smetana, Dvořák 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 written 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 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
  • Wife: Anna Čermáková (m. 1873–1904)
  • Father: František Dvořák (1814–94), a zither player, butcher, and innkeeper
  • Mother: Anna, née Zdeňková Dvořák (1820–82), daughter of the bailiff Prince of Lobkowicz
  • Children: Otakar Dvorák, Josefa Dvorákova, Otilie Dvorákova, Ružena Dvorákova, Atonín Dvorák Jr.
Carnival Overture Opus 92, B. 169 (1891) – Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)
Dvořák’s Carnival Overture came with a program note written by the composer. He wrote, “A wanderer reaches the city at nightfall, where a carnival of pleasure reigns supreme. On every side is heard the clangor of instruments, mingled with shouts of joy and the unrestrained hilarity of people giving vent to their feelings in the songs and dance tunes.” Dvořák wrote three overtures as a set with the overall title Natural Life. The idea was not well received by the critics, so Dvořák chose to separate the three pieces into In Nature’s Realm (Opus 91), Carnival (Opus 92), and Othello (Opus 93). Carnival Overture is the only piece now played on a regular basis.
The overture displays sounds not heard up to this point. He uses clanging tambourines and triangle, celli in the extreme high register, blaring French horns, and the English horn in the slow middle passage. Written in A–B–A form, the opening theme is displayed in just about every instrument family in both of the A passages. The B section of the overture starts with a rustic-sounding, four-note theme in the English horn that transitions into an accompaniment figure with the entrance of the flutes and clarinets in enchantingly gentle melodies that contrast with the boisterous beginning figures. After this brief bit of serenity, the A section material returns with a vengeance. The wild, swirling picture given in the opening A section becomes even more frenetic, with a short development of the two main themes followed by a recapitulation in a show of tremendous spirit.

Instrumentation – piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets in E, D, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, cymbals, snare drum, harp, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass
Artifacts – – Website of Antonín Dvorák Society in the Czech Republic – Interesting facts about Dvorák