Friday, August 01, 2008

Antonin Dvořák

Friday August 1, 2008

Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by an "R" that makes a "juh" sound. As in Duh Vohr Jack. Not to be confused with Devour Jack as in let's eat copious amounts of Jack Daniels, Colby Jack, Cracker Jacks, etc.

Today's Friday Flashback is also brought to you by my goofy parents, who in all of their religious glory, hold a particular reverence for this guy. Growing up, lamentous tears are brought forth at the mention of his honorly name. Making mom cry was just too easy.

Mom: "Get in there and clean your room!" Me: Dvořák! Dvořák! Dvořák! She'd run away crying every time. He really is that great. Now. Had I been a smart child (even in my rebeliousness), I could have saved my bacon many a time by saying "Ma, let's go in and listen to a Dvořák string quartet" when I got caught doing something wrong (sneaking out at 2:00am for example.)

Antonin Dvořák was born 1841 in a town near Prague called Nelahozeves. Don't ask me how to pronounce this one - those wacky Czechs seem to think they can make up how stuff sounds. Or maybe it's the English...?

Dvořák's father was a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker. Just kidding! He was a butcher though and he played the zither (yet again, I've thrown in some unrelated facts for spice).

Dvořák attended Prague's only Organ school and went on to become an accomplished violist and violinist. He specialized in romantic yet bohemian music and composed mostly symphonies, operas, chamber music, string quartets and concertos. (You have to look twice at that concertos word to make sure it isn't really cheetos. They are quite different you know. One is crunchy, inconsistent, and noisy. The other is orange.)

Dvořák received his big break when fellow composer Johannes Brahms took note of Dvořák's foxy musical style. Brahms referred Dvořák to a publisher of music who commissioned his first set of Slavonic Dances. Putting the Dvořák tunes in print made him ferociously popular in London and earned him an honorary degree from Cambridge.

In 2008 terms, that would be like the Disney people finding Miley Cyrus.

The parents will get me for that one. (Comparing the great and only Dvořák to Miley Cyrus is downright sacrilegious).

In 1892 Dvořák's was employed as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. It was in New York that he composed the earth shattering Symphony Number 09 also called the New World Symphony. After a few years of a measly 15k anual salary, Tony became homesick and returned to Prague.

Antonin Dvořák's died in 1904 and was buried in Prague's Vyšehrad cemetery where many a musician will pass by and pay tribute. If you're the rabidrunner parents, you visit the site and weep with joy. The rabidrunner child, on the other hand, would stand by and make fun.

Precisely why I wasn't invited.

The Dvorak Cello Concerto - American Quartet, First Movement - Songs To The Moon with Renee Flemming and my very very favorite Humoresque No 7. All fantastic stuff.

1 comment:

Mo said...

Rabid has some issues with remembering the past. Don't believe a single word of this drivel.... well, OK, some of it true

--The parents