The 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, celebrated earlier this week, was marked not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. On Sunday, for example, the Czech Philharmonic headed by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, played its final North American date in New York at none other than Carnegie Hall, performing Antonín Dvořák’s From the New World Symphony, written during his stay in America.
No symphony by the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák is more instantly recognizable than From the New World. Written in the US during Dvořák’s stay in the early 1890s, the symphony premiered in Carnegie Hall in 1893. The concert on Sunday, not surprisingly, was sold out. Afterwards, the Czech Philharmonic received a thunderous standing ovation and then added two encores, reportedly not all that common; here is what conductor Jiří Bělohlávek had to say:
“The atmosphere was wonderful. The philharmonic rose to the occasion with an extraordinary performance. It was an experience relished by all of us.”
On the occasion of the Philharmonic’s recent tour in the US and its final date at Carnegie Hall, the Czech Republic also arranged the transport of Dvořák’s original score, which has not left the Czech lands in more than 100 years. The manuscript is on view for the duration of the week at the Bohemian National Hall in New York.
The head of the Antonín Dvořák Museum’s Katerina Nova:
“You can see parts scratched out. That was the practice, when Dvořák made a mistake somewhere or wanted to change the mood.”
Original copies of the orchestral parts are also included in the exhibit, provided by the US. The performance of From the New World, for many, was an occasion not to be missed, including for the composer’s grandson, Antonín Dvořák III, long dedicated to the great composer’s legacy.
“I am thrilled by the possibility of being able to see this performance particularly here, in New York, where the symphony was first performed.”
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