Thursday, February 23, 2006

Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)

Antonin Dvorak was a master of the melody; many say that he had the most natural talent for writing a good melody since Schubert, or even Mozart. If you hear any of his pieces even once, chances are you'll remember the theme well. His cello concerto (1895), which did more for the cello as a solo instrument than any piece before it, is no exception. I heard its first movement years ago, recently acquired a recording of my own, and remembered the theme note for note. Dvorak decided to write a cello concerto while working at the National Conservatory in New York. After hearing his friend Victor Herbert's second cello concerto, he realized the possibilities of such a piece, and immediately wrote his own. The piece was a great success from the start, with Dvorak's aging mentor Johannes Brahms saying "Why on earth didn't I know that one could write a cello concerto like this? If I had only known, I would have written one long ago!"

Yo Yo Ma plays both the Dvorak and the Victor Herbert cello concertos on this disc. Don't dismiss the Herbert just because he wrote a lot of crappy operettas like Babes in Toyland. Herbert was a cellist himself and knew how to write well for the instrument; it's a legitimate and underrated piece.

Antonin Dvorak and Victor Herbert: Concertos from the New World

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At February 24, 2006, Anonymous Clive said...

Thank you so much for the Dvorak. I have never heard the Yo Yo Ma performance but it is quite incredible. I had never heard the Herbert concertos but they are rather wonderful also.
Nagoya Japan

At February 24, 2006, Anonymous markahist said...

You have a very classy blog here, especially when compared to many music blogs, which just throw a bunch of music up for people to download randomly. Your lengthy comments are informative and you have material one can't find elsewhere. Thanks.

At February 27, 2006, Blogger Miss F said...

Thank you very much for this album. Incredible music, utterly majestic.


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