The live concert recorded on this CD took place less than six
years ago, but, maybe because 13 September 1997 was in a century that's now
over, or maybe because of the historical impact of world events in the
intervening years, it really seems that this comes to us from the
distant rather than recent past.
The concert celebrated the dedication, earlier that same September day, of
a statue to Antonín Dvorák, installed across the street from
Dvorák's 1892-5 American base, whilst Director of the National
Conservatory of Music of America. The ceremony was attended by New York's
(then) first lady, Donna Hanover Giuliani, the Lord Mayor of Prague (accompanied
by many Czech diplomats and artists) and Dvorák's grandson Antonín
III and great great granddaughter Markéta. The day was officially
declared as Dvorák Day by New York City Council. Full details of
the long and complex story of the appearance of this statue are included
with the fascinating notes in the CD's sixteen page booklet.
First we hear Dvorák's ceremonial and stately Fanfare for the
1891 Prague Exposition [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:10],
played by four trumpeters and a timpanist.
Anyone in Prague on the morning of 15 May 1891 would have got to know this
music rather well -- it was first played from a tower at 6am, and then repeated
from various other towers in the city throughout the morning!
Josef Suk (Dvorák's great grandson) and the American pianist
Lincoln Mayorga give moving performances of Dvorák's Sonatina in G Op 100
and (in the well-known arrangement by Fritz Kreisler) the Humoresque in G flat
Then another rarity -- the first recording of an arrangment for orchestra
of the spiritual 'Deep River'
from Jubilee Songs by Dvorák's African-American student
and later musical assistant,
the baritone Harry T Burleigh. Dvorák, fascinated by American folk music,
had Burleigh sing negro spirituals to him, and it's thought that Burleigh's
performances influenced the last work on the CD, the New World
It seems as if no expense was spared -- for an authentic Czech sound in
the slow movement of the symphony, conductor Steven Richman brought over
the Prague Symphony Orchestra's cor anglais player, Iveta Bachmannová
[listen -- track 9, 1:04-1:57].
The good news is that not only was this free concert in St George's
Church, Stuyvesant Square -- attended by more than two thousand people --
a resounding success,
but the high quality of all the music making and something of the great sense
of occasion that was Dvorák Day 1997 have made their way onto the CD.
Copyright © 21 June 2003
Keith Bramich, Eastwood, Essex, UK
BUY THIS DISC FROM AMAZON
Dvorák Day Monument Dedication Concert
CD-1078 DDD Stereo 69'50" 2001 Music and Arts Program of America Inc
Josef Suk, violin; Lincoln Mayorga, piano; Dvorák Festival Orchestra of New York (including members of the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, NYC Opera, NYC Ballet, Mostly Mozart Festival and Janácek Philharmonic Orchestras); Steven Richman, conductor
Dvorák: Fanfare for the 1891 Prague Exposition; Dvorák: Sonatina in G for violin and piano Op 100; Dvorák arr Kreisler: Humoresque in G flat Op 101 No 7; Harry T Burleigh (1866-1949): Spiritual 'Deep River' from Jubilee Songs, arranged for orchestra (first recording); Dvorák: Symphony No 9 in E minor Op 95 'From the new world'
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