Dvorak and His World

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Antonin Dvorák made his famous trip to the United States one hundred years ago, but despite an enormous amount of attention from scholars and critics since that time, he remains an elusive figure. Comprising both interpretive essays and a selection of fascinating documents that bear on Dvorák's career and music, this volume addresses fundamental questions about the composer while presenting an argument for a radical reappraisal.

The essays, which make up the first part of the book, begin with Leon Botstein's inquiry into the reception of Dvorák's work in German-speaking Europe, in England, and in America. Commenting on the relationship between Dvorák and Brahms, David Beveridge offers the first detailed portrait of perhaps the most interesting artistic friendship of the era. Joseph Horowitz explores the context in which the "New World" Symphony was premiered a century ago, offering an absorbing account of New York musical life at that time. In discussing Dvorák as a composer of operas, Jan Smaczny provides an unexpected slant on the widely held view of him as a "nationalist" composer. Michael Beckerman further investigates this view of Dvorák by raising the question of the role nationalism played in music of the nineteenth century.

The second part of this volume presents Dvorák's correspondence and reminiscences as well as unpublished reviews and criticism from the Czech press. It includes a series of documents from the composer's American years, a translation of the review of Rusalka's premiere with the photographs that accompanied the article, and Janácek's analyses of the symphonic poems. Many of these documents are published in English for the first time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The image of the composer Antonin Dvorák as a Czech visionary who ventured into the exotic cultural habitat of nineteenth century America is brilliantly portrayed.... The five critical essays which make up the first part of the book create a multifaceted portrait of the composer within the musical vanguard of Prague and New York."Slavic Review
Slavic Review
The image of the composer Antonin Dvorák as a Czech visionary who ventured into the exotic cultural habitat of nineteenth century America is brilliantly portrayed.... The five critical essays which make up the first part of the book create a multifaceted portrait of the composer within the musical vanguard of Prague and New York.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691000978
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/23/1993
  • Series: Bard Music Festival Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,398,192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Beckerman is Associate Professor of Music at Washington University in St. Louis.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Looking for Dvorak in December 1992 3
Reversing the Critical Tradition: Innovation, Modernity, and Ideology in the Work and Career of Antonin Dvorak 11
Dvorak and Brahms: A Chronicle, an Interpretation 56
Dvorak and the New World: A Concentrated Moment 92
Dvorak: The Operas 104
The Master's Little Joke: Antonin Dvorak and the Mask of Nation 134
Reviews and Criticism from Dvorak's American Years: Articles by Henry Krehbiel, James Huneker, H. L. Mencken, and James Creelman 157
Letters from Dvorak's American Period: A Selection of Unpublished Correspondence Received by Dvorak in the United States 192
Antonin Dvorak: A Biographical Sketch 211
Dvorak in the Czech Press: Unpublished Reviews and Criticism 230
A Discussion of Two Tone Poems Based on Texts by Karel Jaromir Erben: The Wood Dove and The Golden Spinning Wheel 262
Index of Names and Compositions 277
List of Contributors 283
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