Symfonie nr. 9 in e mineur (“Uit de nieuwe wereld”), Op. 95, is verreweg de populairste symfonie van Antonín Dvořák, en één van de populairste werken überhaupt uit het complete romantische symfonische repertoire. De symfonie ging in première op 16 december 1893 in de Carnegie Hall te New York. Het werd bij die gelegenheid uitgevoerd door het New York Philharmonic onder leiding van dirigent Anton Seidl.

Dvořák componeerde het in 1893 tijdens zijn verblijf in Spillville, Iowa, toen hij drie jaar directeur was van het National Conservatory of Music in Manhattan. Die woning is nu ingericht als het Bily Clocks Museum. The museum contains clocks that were made by hand from the years 1913 to 1958. The clocks were made by Frank and Joseph Bily, together known as the Bily brothers. Er is ook een verdieping gewijd aan het verblijf van Dvorak.
The symphony was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. Veeleer dan Boheemse invloeden horen wij in deze symfonie Amerikaanse inspiratie doorklinken. While director of the National Conservatory he encountered an African-American student, Harry T.Burleigh, who sang traditional spirituals to him. Burleigh, later a composer himself, said that Dvořák had absorbed their ‘spirit’ before writing his own melodies. Zo is de melodie van “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” te horen in de fluitpartij in het eerste deel.
Dvořák stated: “I am convinced that the future music of this country must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them.”
Dvořák further explained how Native American music influenced his symphony: “I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral colour.
In the same article, Dvořák stated that he regarded the symphony’s second movement as a “sketch or study for a later work, either a cantata or opera … which will be based upon Longfellow’s Hiawatha” (Dvořák never actually wrote such a piece.) He also wrote that the third movement scherzo was “suggested by the scene at the feast in Hiawatha where the Indians dance”.
In 1893, a newspaper interview quoted Dvořák as saying “I found that the music of the negroes and of the Indians was practically identical” and that “the music of the two races bore a remarkable similarity to the music of Scotland”. Most historians agree that Dvořák is referring to the pentatonic scale, which is typical of each of these musical traditions.
In een reactie na de eerste uitvoering van deze symfonie in Amerika verklaarde Antonin Dvorak tegenover de pers: “Deze prachtige, gevarieerde thema’s zijn een product van deze bodem. Ze zijn Amerikaans. Ze zijn de volksmuziek van Amerika en uw componisten zouden er hun inspiratie uit moeten putten. In de negro‑spirituals van Amerika heb ik alles gevonden wat nodig is voor het laten openbloeien van een grootse en nobele nationale muziek.”
At the premiere in Carnegie Hall, the end of every movement was met with thunderous clapping and Dvořák felt obliged to stand up and bow. This was one of the greatest public triumphs of Dvořák’s career. When the symphony was published, several European orchestras soon performed it. Alexander Mackenzie conducted the London Philharmonic Society in the European premiere on 21 June 1894. Astronaut Neil Armstrong took a tape recording of the New World Symphony along during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969. (Wikipedia)

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