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Orchestral music by Dvorák -
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'... vigorous and vital ...'

Dvorák: Symphonies 5 and 6 - Jiri Belohlavek - BBC Symphony Orchestra - 2CD. © 2006 Warner Classics

If I am alone among you in still being caught by confusion about the real sequence of Dvorák's symphonies, then my apologies come with a plea to bear with me for a few lines whilst I clarify things for myself, for you will no doubt have cleverer minds than mine and, better still, possess a more polished ability to remember the facts than I !

Dvorák wrote nine symphonies and it is generally agreed that the first four, though not particularly youthful attempts (the first two when he was 24, the next two at 33), are not structurally successful. A fifth was produced before Simrock agreed to publish the next two as No 1, Op 60 and No 2, Op 70. In his mid-40s Dvorák suddenly became anxious about the neglect of earlier works and persuaded Simrock to take on the fifth, originally Op 24, but Simrock decided it to be better for his catalogue to change it to Op 76 and publish it as No 3. Thankfully all is now chronologically correct and though the opus numbers are misleading, the sequence is the best guide to his symphonic production.

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Copyright © 28 July 2007 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


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