IX. Symphony E minor “From the New World” Op. 95 

 

Dear friends of music,
More than 60 famous musicians of Czech music and musical organisations are celebrating anniversaries in 2004. At the same time, the composers Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček have been included on the UNESCO list of international anniversaries. The 100th anniversary of the death of perhaps the most famous composer in Czech history, Antonín Dvořák (8.9.1841 Nelahozeves – 1. 5. 1904 Prague) also gave rise to many interesting projects. To mark this special jubilee and in collaboration with the National Museum – Czech Museum of Music, we are publishing a facsimile of the maestro’s score for the IX. Symphony in E minor, “From the New World”, op. 95, together with a further publication of accompanying texts. The publication will be published as zero in the Museum Edition series, which is also dedicated to bringing long over-looked or unpublished works of Czech composers to light and onto concert stages.

Volume one – the score – manuscript facsimile. 126 colour pictures were made using a special no-contact scanner designed for the digitalisation of historical written documents (viz. technical details). The manuscript originally was in loose sheets and later bound at the turn of the 20th century using an ordinary book binding technique, during this process the pages were rather insensitively cropped. It was therefore not possible to publish the facsimile without edges in the same precise format and thus risk that the cropping process would encroach into the musical score. The white outer edges highlight the colour difference of the faded pages of the original manuscript. Paper was chosen with the quality of the original in mind, despite the fact that the structure of the fibre is actually pressed. Thanks to the quality of today’s reproduction technology, all of the author’s notes and retouches are clearly visible, which is one of the most alluring aspects for researchers, conductors, interpreters and other music aficionados.

Volume two – expert commentary – we decided to use part of the expert and highly valuable commentary by leading Czech musicologist, Jarmil Burghauser, from the first facsimile publication of this work (1972). Jarmil Burghauser remains a recognised expert in the analysis of Dvořák’s manuscripts to this day. The text has been no less eruditely and sensitively reworked, edited and supplemented by PhDr. Milan Kuna, DrSc, the author of many musicology publications, including the ten volume work assembled by a team of authors he directed, “Antonín Dvořák: Correspondence and Documents”, “Music on the Edge of Life”, and “Celebrated Names in Czech Music” to name but a few. A detailed history of the origin of the symphony, together with excerpts from letters related to the work and a detailed analysis of the manuscript, including the latest information to come to light, are, together with the score, an invitation to all those who wish to deepen their knowledge. The final word belongs to PhDr. Markéta Hallová, who notes the number of interpreters and celebrated names who have performed Dvořák’s IX. Symphony. She also emphasises the importance of the work for both today and tomorrow; after all, the “New World” was played by the astronauts prior to their first steps on the moon for good reason and it was also chosen as part of Mankind’s greeting to other life forms in the cosmic search for other civilisations.
The publication of this facsimile of Antonín Dvořák’s IX. Symphony pays homage to a genius who managed to combine innumerable musical ideas and this in musical form that enables his compositions to surprise us to this day.

MgA. Tomáš Kirschner

 

 

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