Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dvořák - Symphony No. 9, Op. 95 "From the New World" (1984)


Sir Georg Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

This is a fantastic recording of this piece. If you like an in-your-face performance, Solti and the CSO give one of the best interpretations of this work. While this piece is wildly popular in the symphonic repertoire, there's not really a lot to it and I don't listen to it much anymore. I'm guessing it is popular because it has melodies that you can hum as you leave the concert hall as well as the fact that it is one of the first pieces that can be called American in spirit, leading the way for better works by Copland, etc. The piece gets its title from the fact that Dvořák stole much of his material from American folk songs. It turns out, however, that he also used folk songs from his native Bohemia (hey, we're a melting pot!). Most people are familiar with the melody of the slow second movement, which I have heard bastardized by marching bands all over the state.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This is one of the first CDs I ever purchased. This CD reminds me of a class presentation that I and two friends put on in college. It was a educational media class and we brought examples of different types of audio media including this disc (CDs were new and exciting back then!). We got a B. I think the professor was jealous of our good looks.

I was speaking to a musician a few weeks ago and we discussed how attitudes often change towards certain works in the classical repertoire. While studying music in college, I thought Dvořák's New World Symphony was a major symphonic work that required study: listen to different recordings, learn the nuances, play the excerpts, analyze the form of the work, examine the score. Now I realize this piece probably wasn't worth that effort. This is a piece that classical music lovers enjoy, but classical musicians simply play it to make a buck.

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