The crispness to the opening and sprightly melodies of Smetana’s most famous overture, with its folk dance themes and foot-stamping bravado, belies his aim to popularise the music of his native Czechoslovakia; to use the sounds of his homeland to deepen its impact across Europe and America. Korngold plundered his Hollywood catalogue for the most haunting, expressive and beautiful themes to create a concerto that would prove his prowess beyond a writer of swashbuckling movie scores. It displays all of the rigorous craftsmanship and masterful instrumental facility of his Viennese training but also the flair for emotional directness he perfected after arriving in Los Angeles. Remaining incredibly fresh and abounding with memorable melodies, the Ninth Symphony describes Dvořák’s own spiritual and emotional journey from his intense longing for his beloved Bohemia to the thrill of the ‘New World’ and its varied peoples. Written in 1893 during Dvořák’s years as a visiting teacher in New York City, it is really a musical postcard to his Old World friends in central Europe, proclaiming America as a land of promise, excitement, and heart-rending beauty.

Works and composers

Smetana The Bartered Bride: Overture and Dances
Korngold Violin Concerto
Dvořák Symphony No.9 'From the New World'

Supported by

Gillian Emerson