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Exploring the often surprising links between concepts, themes and people in classical music, from medieval to modern


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Saturday, February 9, 2019 Permalink

The Love Connection

Dvorak turned a broken heart into a lifetime of composing


Tucked into Antonin Dvorak's great Cello Concerto is a melody he’d written 30 years earlier--one of many songs composed in his youth for the first real love of his life.

And while that love was not to be, he continued to re-shape and re-work those early songs—including a final farewell in the concerto, prompted by the woman’s death--the woman, who had since become his sister-in-law.

In his book, New Worlds of Dvorak , Michael Beckerman writes: “Dvorak lived in a world where unresolved and hidden things flit like moths on a summer evening. While some of these create torment and anxiety, they also, not incidentally, can make life somehow bearable. Dvorak’s music is filled with such things, and thus part of coming to a deeper understanding of his music is a belief in the importance of these secrets, of listening to his music as if it is filled with them, even if they cannot—and perhaps should not—be known.”


Title Record Label
Dvorak Cello Concerto Deutsche Grammophon DGG 447 413-2
Secrets of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto Sony 82876737162
Dvorak: Cypresses Somm SOMMCD 236
Dvorak: Love Songs (Kozena, soprano) Deutsche Grammophon DGG 463 472-2
Dvorak Chamber Music Vox CDX 5166
Suites and Serenades by Czech Composers Koch 3-1628-2
New Worlds of Dvorak W.W. Norton & Co. recording accompanying book, New Worlds of Dvorak [ISBN 0-393-04706-7]


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