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Composer born today: September 8. Antonin Dvořák

Antonin Dvořák

He played the viola and he studied with Brahms. Two reasons why he is one of my all time favorite composers.

In 1857 he went to the capital or Czechoslovakia, Prague, to study at the Organ School, where he studied composition, the playing of chorales and improvising, while attending also the secondary school. He played viola in the music society orchestra. In 1859, as a viola player, he joined a dance band that played in restaurants and for balls, remaining there for some years. In 1862 he was principal violist with a Czech opera house theatre orchestraWhile Dvorak was studying composition, he went through a sort of “practical training” about instrumental music, playing viola in orchestra from the age of 16 to the age of 30,  learning first hand how to write for the viola. He believed that “no instrument should be playing a part that is merely filling in, every instrument speaks a language of its own.” His first first official opus was a quintet with two violas.

Born September 8, 1841, in Nelahozeves, Bohemia (now Czech Republic); (died May 1, 1904, in Prague); son of Frantisek (a butcher and innkeeper) and Anna Zdenek Dvorak; married Anna Cermakova, November, 1873; children: Otakar, Otilie Suk, Aloisie, Anna, Antonin, Magda. Education: Prague Organ School, 1857-59.

Considered the greatest composer that the Czech nation ever produced, Antonin Dvorak wrote a career’s worth of classical works for orchestra, symphony, and choir that survive as some of the most majestic and acclaimed works of nineteenth-century Romantic music.

Dvorak entered the Austrian State Stipendium competition. Brahms sat on its jury, and was greatly impressed by the young Czech and his ability to integrate Bohemian folk melodies into a serious classical opus. Dvorak was awarded a respectable prize that year, and Brahms helped him find a publisher for his music.

Read more: Antonin Dvorak Biography http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608002312/antonin-dvorak.html#ixzz0ysgyoNVT

Classical Music Resonates With Me

I love classical music, always have. Some people I meet now say – Oh well you must have grown up with it, that’s why you like it. I tell them no, the people I grew up with – some of them actually hated it – the rest didn’t understand. My birth family, on my mother’s side at least, is kind of the same way. I don’t know where I got it from – father’s genes maybe – but I have loved classical music ever since I was a little girl.  It just resonates with something deep inside. I don’t like everything called Classical, but when I hear Dvorak, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Vaughn Williams, and the like I respond.  Also Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov – ahh Scheherazade.  🙂  Maybe I’m part Russian.

I think different people just have different ears. Or brain receptors. I can’t stand a steel guitar for instance but a lot of my family love it. But let me put Dvorak on the CD player and some will go ballistic. I don’t understand. But neither do they.
I think resonate is a good word. Like piano strings. The higher notes have three strings and they all have to resonate at the same frequency. If one is off you get that twangy response. Out of tune.
Perhaps each person has a resonance frequency and responds to what matches it. Poetry has its own frequency. Some people only resonate to rhyme or maybe alliteration. Others can feel the flow of a freer format. You have to write (play, etc.) what resonates with you and then hope for someone with a like frequency, so to speak, to come along.