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Dvořák's Greatest Symphony?

Dvořák's Greatest Symphony?

Although there is no doubt that the "New World" is the most popular of Antonin Dvořák's nine symphonies, most musicologists and Dvořák scholars are in agreement that his greatest symphony is the Seventh.

In 1884, the Philharmonic Society of London invited Dvořák to write a symphony. Dvořák had greatly admired Brahms’ Third Symphony, whose premiere took place in 1883. Known for his folk, nationalist style, Dvořák had desired to create a work that would have a larger impact on the European world. He would find a way to move into this new musical territory with this commissioned symphony (his only) — the monumental Seventh Symphony, which he started in December 1884 and finished in March 1885.

Inspired by the political struggles of the Czech nation, Dvořák created a piece that is heavier in tone than his previous works and contains fewer folk elements. Both the first movement and the finale of the Seventh Symphony begin with dark and foreboding themes. The second movement is considered the heart of the piece and the reason some critics call it Dvořák’s “tragic” symphony.


Antonin Dvořák


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Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.

Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the May concert program in depth.

The Merion
Friday, May 10 at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.

Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.