In 1892, Dvorak was lured from his native Bohemia to New York City with an offer of a lucrative post as director of the newly-established National Conservatory of Music. Though he stayed in America only a couple years, he spent summers in a small town in Iowa, drinking in the atmosphere of the recently-settled rural Midwest. His final symphony, broad, vigorous, evoking both the sweep of the American landscape and Midwestern pastoral simplicity, was inspired by these visits. Dvorak incorporated the style of African-American folksong into his symphony, recreating it so sensitively that the spiritual-like melody in the slow movement was later fitted out with words and sung as “Goin'Home.” Conductor Mariss Jansons'performance, a study in vivid contrasts, takes the full measure of the work's explosiveness and lyricism, sweetness and strength.
By Justin Davidson on 06.13.08 in Reviews
In 1909, the impresario Serge Diaghilev, who repackaged Russian culture as urbane spectacle intended for export to the West, happened to hear a work by a young composer named Igor Stravinsky, and promptly asked him to wr...
By Justin Davidson on 01.16.15 in Features
She is no longer the goofy but serious alien girl with the long flowing hair; instead she’s a sage.
By Justin Davidson on 12.02.14 in Features
Justin Davidson examines the way recent solo cello albums by Alisa Weilerstein, Jeffrey Ziegler and Maya Beiser reinvent that wordless, eloquent voice.
By Ami Armstrong on 11.26.14 in Features
Stream the Punch Brothers documentary 'How to Grow a Band' this week.