The Strathcona Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director, Helena Jung, is hard at work to present one of the world?s most famous classical pieces to Comox Valley audiences.
Antonin Dvo??k had been living in New York for at least a year, working at his position as artistic director and professor of composition at the prestigious National Conservatory of Music (?Conservatory?), before composing Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 or commonly known as the New World symphony.
Dvo??k was familiar to American audiences, having made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1892, conducting the New York Philharmonic, New York Symphony Orchestra and the world premiere of his Te Deum, Op. 103.
Jeannette Thurber, president of the Conservatory, wanted Dvo??k to introduce to concert goers a unique American style of music which did not depend on the traditional European model.
The Bohemian composer?s notes regarding the inspiration for the New World symphony revealed that he admired the indigenous Native American traditions as well as the haunting beauty of African American spirituals and plantation songs of the Southern U.S.
For some listeners, the second theme in the first movement (Adagio) is reminiscent of the spiritual, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. The beginning of the second movement (Largo), introduced by the English Horn, was later used as the musical arrangement for Goin? Home with lyrics written by Dvo??k?s student, William Arms Fisher.
The Largo movement was performed at the funerals of American presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Gerald Ford. For his trip to the moon on Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong was rumoured to have a cassette of the New World in his possession during this historic mission.
The New World symphony premiered on December 16, 1893, at New York?s Carnegie Hall.
The New York Evening Post reviewer wrote, ?Anyone who heard it could not deny that it is the greatest symphonic work ever composed in this country?.
Where & When
The Strathcona Symphony Orchestra will be performing the New World at the Native Sons Hall, 360 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay.
Dates and times are Saturday, May 14th (7:00pm) and Sunday, May 15th (2:00pm).
Online tickets are available at https://strathcona-symphony-orchestra.tickit.ca/.
Tickets are $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for children 12 years and under.