Icons of The American Dream: Dvořák musically brings together the old world and the new, Gershwin combines jazz with classical. ----- The American Dream The success story of Anton ...
Icons of The American Dream: Dvořák musically brings together the old world and the new, Gershwin combines jazz with classical.
The American Dream
The success story of Antonín Dvořák - from simple butcher's son to mascot of artistic Bohemia - captivated the imagination in the land of The American Dream. In 1892 he arrived in America with his wife and two of his children, along with an invitation to come and bring a new sound to music in America. Dvořák hesitated at first, but accepted, left and triumphed.
The Ninth Symphony 'From the New World' was Dvořák's first work after his arrival in New York. The premiere was a great succes, and many heard in its melodies the years of immigration history of the Americas, and rightly so: Dvořák drew inspiration from negro spirituals of the African slaves and music of the indigenous people, but also used the folk music of the European immigrants. He thus subtly combined elements from both the 'old' and the 'new' worlds, creating a 'multinational' symphony.
100th Anniversary: Rhapsody in Blue
Gershwin grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a place where composers of various origins worked alongside each other, exchanged ideas and mingled. In 1919 the young songwriter scored his first hit with the joyful number ‘Swanee’, followed by many timeless classics. But Gershwin was not satisfied with the success of his Broadway career. His fascination with modern European composers such as Schönberg and Stravinsky impelled him to strive for a synthesis of the two worlds.
In 1923, he was given the opportunity to achieve this when the jazz band leader Paul Whiteman asked him to write an orchestral work for a concert he promoted as ‘An Experiment in Modern Music’. Legend has it that Gershwin forgot all about this proposal until he saw an announcement for the concert in a newspaper. He began composing like mad, and three weeks later put the final touches on his ‘American Rhapsody’.