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Antonín (Leopold) Dvořák

Antonín (Leopold) Dvořák Composer

An Introduction to Dvorák's Symphony No.9 (Naxos): Narration by Jeremy Siepmann

Performances: 1
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  • An Introduction to Dvorák's Symphony No.9 (Naxos): Narration by Jeremy Siepmann
    Pr. Instrument: Narrator
    • 1st mvt. A quiet beginning, sorrow, syncopation, and sequence
    • 1st mvt. Instrumental colour as a prime element: clarinets and bassoons, an outburst by the French horn
    • 1st mvt. The opening tune again, with different instrumental colouring: now flutes and oboes
    • 1st mvt. The first big surprise: strings, shattering drumbeats, shrieks from flutes, oboes, and clarinets
    • 1st mvt. Cellos and basses take us into a new key while flutes and oboes dance in syncopation.
    • 1st mvt. Horns, violas, and cellos introduce a new idea, soon to evolve into the main theme.
    • 1st mvt. A tiny detail from the opening culminates in a wild drumming that heralds a major event
    • 1st mvt. Introduction complete
    • 1st mvt. A solo horn introduces the main theme, perkily answered by bassoons and horns.
    • 1st mvt. The theme moves to G major; answering phrase from flutes, oboes, bassoons; the main theme is extended
    • 1st mvt. Long crescendo, tremolo strings, back to tonic and biggest statement yet of the main theme
    • 1st mvt. Transition to the secondary theme through the use of sequence. Sonata form; stability and flux; Dvorák's use of asymmetry an
    • 1st mvt. Three-bar groupings and again the use of sequence, spelling out a chord
    • 1st mvt. The sequence continues to rise, and the four-bar phrase returns as the standard unit.
    • 1st mvt. The first violins start off the next phrase, but the melodic shape is more compact.
    • 1st mvt. The violins fall silent; the violas and cellos answer with a new figure, a variation of the violins' melody.
    • 1st mvt. So now we have a two-bar group, made up of statement and answer.
    • 1st mvt. The same thing again (through not quite the same)
    • 1st mvt. Transition complete. The secondary theme arrives, with French horns as 'bagpipes'.
    • 1st mvt. The 'bagpipe drone' is taken over by cellos with their insistently repeated G and D.
    • 1st mvt. The tune is taken up by cellos and double-basses, 'shadowed' by the second violins; a fanfare figure emerges.
    • 1st mvt. The violins continue a patterns of steady pairs, and the cellos and basses introduce a new idea. Then another surprise...
    • 1st mvt. Unexpectedly, we find ourselves back with the secondary theme. A new idea emerges.
    • 1st mvt. Again we hear the shortened version of the secondary theme, followed by mounting instability and suspense.
    • 1st mvt. The suspense is heightened as everything slows down; a soft, still variant of the 'interruption' motif is heard from the str
    • 1st mvt. This beautiful flute tune is said to resemble 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'.
    • 1st mvt. A big crescendo leads to a final statement of the closing theme, bringing the exposition to a glorious end.
    • 1st mvt. The development section begins with a conversation between cellos, double-basses, and violins.
    • 1st mvt. The beginning of the closing theme is taken up in turn by the horn, piccolo, and trumpet.
    • 1st mvt. Sequential chirping from the oboes based on the 'answering' part of the main theme, now in the major
    • 1st mvt. Much of the development comes from a diminution of the closing theme from the exposition.
    • 1st mvt. A tiny detail becomes a major ingredient, giving an agitated quality to an originally sunny tune.
    • 1st mvt. Through a sequence of keys so quickly that it is hard to keep track of them: there is a definite sense of movement.
    • 1st mvt. The main theme from massed cellos and double-basses, topped by two trumpets over tremolo violas
    • 1st mvt. After that major climax, we arrive at the threshold of the recapitulation, courtesy of winds and strings.
    • 1st mvt. Dvorák flouts tradition by setting the secondary theme and the closing theme in unexpected keys.
    • 1st mvt. The tumultuous convulsion of the coda brings the first movement to its epic close.
    • 1st mvt. Humpty Dumpty: putting the bits back together again
    • 2nd mvt. The very opening chords unmistakably herald the arrival of something special.
    • 2nd mvt. The role of instrumentation in setting the scene...
    • 2nd mvt....and in enhancing the quality of one of the most famous tunes in symphonic history.
    • 2nd mvt. The cor anglais is joined by the clarinet, creating a fascinating change in the timbre.
    • 2nd mvt. For the closing part of the tune, there is another new sonority: cor anglais plus bassoon.
    • 2nd mvt. The closing bar is repeated by clarinets and bassoons, the horn adding a new touch of colour at the end.
    • 2nd mvt. Back to the start to hear the whole of the story so far, this time without commentary
    • 2nd mvt. A change of scoring: the slow opening chords return, this time played by the winds alone.
    • 2nd mvt. The changes in scoring are just beginning
    • 2nd mvt. The flutes and oboes introduce a new tune, over hushed tremolo strings.
    • 2nd mvt. A memorable combination of continuous, asymmetrical melody with steady, march-like counterpoint.
    • 2nd mvt. Back in that woodland glade, the light and shadows have changed, revealing new shapes and patterns.
    • 2nd mvt. The next section is new and forward-looking, yet also a kind of dream-recollection of a past scene.
    • 2nd mvt. An abrupt change of mood, much discussion and embellishment, and a hushed note of expectancy
    • 2nd mvt. Subjectivity and expertise; Sourek and Tovey disagree; onwards, into the final section
    • 2nd mvt. Cue to whole movement
    • 3rd mvt. Dvorák, Beethoven and the Scherzo. Dvorák purposely confuses the listener's expectations.
    • 3rd mvt. Using a little fanfare, Dvorák further builds up expectation before revealing the movement's main theme.
    • 3rd mvt. When the theme is revealed, we find that it is not exactly a tune.
    • 3rd mvt. Two little bursts of rhythm povide the seeds from which much of the movement grows.
    • 3rd mvt. It is the second half of the theme that dominates.
    • 3rd mvt. Back to the beginning to hear the whole of this opening section
    • 3rd mvt. Without ever being remotely 'academic' or 'intellectual', there is much counterpoint going on here.
    • 3rd mvt. Dvorák's very Czech love of combining conflicting rhythms, sometimes metres
    • 3rd mvt. A clearly transitional passage, obsessed with the rhythmic tag that both opens and closes the main theme
    • 3rd mvt. Sooner than we may have expected, we seem to have arrived at the Trio section.
    • 3rd mvt. A new kind of tone quality sheds a subtly different light on the theme.
    • 3rd mvt. The flutes and oboes now chime in with an answering variant of the opening...
    • 3rd mvt...and the cellos and bassoons take up the original version of the theme.
    • 3rd mvt. A false alarm: it was not the traditional Trio section at all, but rather part two of the Scherzo proper.
    • 3rd mvt. Soon, after a very rapid build, the Scherzo proper does reach its final phase.
    • 3rd mvt. The orchestral texture thins dramatically, and we approach what this time really is the Trio section.
    • 3rd mvt. The Trio section is reminiscent more of the 'Old World' than the 'New'.
    • 3rd mvt. In the second half of the Trio, a new tune emerges, a kind of Slavonic waltz.
    • 3rd mvt. The main theme of the Trio returns against a much fuller orchestral background.
    • 3rd mvt. Then it is all a matter of repeats, until we reach the coda, which ends with an explosive bang.
    • 4th mvt. Like the first movement, the fourth begins not with its main theme but with an introduction.
    • 4th mvt. The main theme: an imposing march, introduced by trumpets and trombones, with timpani
    • 4th mvt. The main theme, part two. A codetta-like passage closes off the march and introduces the 'transitional' theme.
    • 4th mvt. The 'transitional' theme, while outwardly contrasting, is actually a hidden variant of the march.
    • 4th mvt. A point of future obsession
    • 4th mvt. The second half of this 'transitional' theme is given to the winds as soon as the strings have finished.
    • 4th mvt. The 'obsession' takes root, with a ten-fold repetition, before the arrival of the second subject.
    • 4th mvt. The hidden traps in sonata-form terminology: 'second main theme' vs. 'second subject'
    • 4th mvt. The unexpected entry and subsequent ubiquity of 'Three Blind Mice'
    • 4th mvt. We meet the mice again, now in the cellos and double-basses, where they persistently refuse to run.
    • 4th mvt. More 'Three Blind Mice' material
    • 4th mvt. The mice return to the basement, where the bassoons have joined the cellos and double-basses.
    • 4th mvt. Next, they are back with the clarinets, now joined by pizzicato violas, who pass them back to the cellos.
    • 4th mvt. Now they return to the high winds, delicately trilling.
    • 4th mvt. Relief, at last: the mice back off, making way for a reminder of the main theme from the trumpets.
    • 4th mvt. The mice yield to woodpeckers (clarinets); the main theme (or its opening gambit) is now doubled in speed.
    • 4th mvt. The triplets of the 'transitional' theme are now handed down through strings from the violins to the basses.
    • 4th mvt. Reminders of past movements begin to fly by, thick and fast, sometimes very fast.
    • 4th mvt. In fact there are three bits of quotation going on here simultaneously.
    • 4th mvt. The violas react every time the 'Goin' Home' theme is quoted by the winds.
    • 4th mvt. The rhythm of the opening of the 'Goin' Home' theme dominates, transformed by trumpets and trombones.
    • 4th mvt. The march theme reappears as a Mendelssohnian fairy; the main theme from the first movement now returns.
    • 4th mvt. We reach an interesing point: have we heard the beginning of the recapitulation, or not?
    • 4th mvt. Perhaps this is it? Back for a reminder of the theme proper, as we first heard it
    • 4th mvt. Tovey places the start of the recapitulation here.
    • 4th mvt. The main theme recast in pathetic rather than heroic terms - and with magical scoring
    • 4th mvt. This unexpected crisis in confidence plays a major role in the overall dramatic impact of the movement.
    • 4th mvt. The main theme returns - not complete, but chopped up into shorter and shorter fragments.
    • 4th mvt. A glorious thematic stew; high drama, a powerful build-up...but then?
    • 4th mvt. The dramatic highpoint of the movement, an astonishing transformation, but first, back to the original
    • 4th mvt. The same chords again, this time blasted out by the entire wind and brass sections
    • 4th mvt. Now we are into the finishing stretch, but the surprises continue to the very end of the very end.
    • 4th mvt. Summary, context, and cue into the whole movement

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