Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Captive Audience

Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra recently performed part of Antonin Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12, known as his American String Quartet, while stuck in coach on the runway at the Beijing airport. It was composed while Dvořák was vacationing in Spillville, Iowa in 1893:
As for my new Symphony, the F major String Quartet and the Quintet (composed here in Spillville) – I should never have written these works 'just so' if I hadn't seen America," wrote Dvořák in a letter in 1893. In his description of the New World symphony, Dvořák was more specific: "As to my opinion, I think that the influence of this country (it means the folk songs that are Negro, Indian, Irish, etc.) is to be seen, and that this [the symphony] and all other works written in America differ very much from my earlier works, as much in colour as in character . . . . [Wikipedia]
As of this posting, well over one million viewers have taken a look at this impromptu concert--an audience far in excess of a typical performance by the orchestra.

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