Journal “Czech Music” Volume 18 No. 1 (Abstract)
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Concerning one of the Myths about Dvořák: Dvořák the Apprentice Butcher
by Jarmil Burghauser
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 18, No.1 (1993), pp. 17-44]
The contention that Dvořák was pressurised by his family into undertaking a formal butcher’s apprenticeship, though incorrect, nevertheless encourages the examination of the early years of the composer and his education. While no doubt Antonín helped at times in his father’s business, it was not as a formal apprentice. The certificate used as evidence for the apprenticeship has been shown to be spurious. Dvořák’s early moves from Nehalozeves to Zlonice and then Česká Kamenice were in the cause of improving his German and his musical education, following which he was ready to enter Prague Organ School. His father did not stand in the way of Antonín’s musical development.
Dvořák and the Development of Oratorio in the Nineteenth Century
by Daniela Philippi
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 18, No.1 (1993), pp. 45-57]
The term ‘oratorio’ has been used to categorise a range of choral works: in England as a composition based on sacred texts, as distinct from the choral ballad, a major vocal work based on dramatic, non-liturgical events. Dvořák himself considered his The Spectre’s Bride as such a ballad, and St. Ludmila as a dramatic oratorio with a religious theme. His interest in larger choral works blossomed with the rise of Czech nationalism, and was also influenced the devotion to large-scale choral music in England, where Dvořák’s popularity followed the success of his Stabat Mater in 1884. In terms of compositional techniques, The Spectre’s Bride is forward looking, drawing on elements from Liszt, Wagner and Smetana, while St. Ludmila looks back to Handel and Mendelssohn, though both have strong Czech links.
Dvořák, Josefína Kounicová and Anna Dvořáková
by Jitka Slavíková
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 18, No.1 (1993), pp. 57-63]
The belief that Dvořák preserved a lifelong love for Josefina Kounicová, older sister of his wife Anna, implying he only married Anna because he could not have Josefina, has no basis in fact. There is, however, the unanswered question that in inserting a phrase from Tatiana and Onegin’s poignant farewell duet from Eugene Onegin in the closing stages of his second Cello Concerto, added following Josefina’s untimely death in 1895, there is the possibility that he might, involuntarily or otherwise, have been harking back to an unrequited love of over thirty years before.
Libuše and Vanda: Legendary Operatic Sisters
by Alan Houtchens
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 18, No.1 (1993), pp. 63-72]
Dvořák selected Vanda, a libretto based on the legendary Polish Queen Wanda, as a grand operatic subject intended to match that of Smetana’s Libuše, composed to glorify the Czech nation on celebratory occasions. There were similarities in the ancient tribal legends of the Czech and Polish peoples, and the two operas share characteristics in their plots, characters, contexts and philosophies. Musically there are similarities and differences between the two works, and certainly evidence of some influence of Smetana on Dvořák’s writing. In the event, in the delayed competition to select an opera to open the National Theatre, Libuše was chosen. Vanda had already gone through two productions but, having nothing else to submit, Dvořák decided not to enter.