The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








“Dvořák New World” 

Concerts: Friday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. at Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St., Concord); Saturday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. at Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St., Nashua); and Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. at Paul Creative Arts Center at University of New Hampshire (30 Academic Way, Durham)
Tickets: $30 for general admission, $27 for seniors and $10 for youth
More info:

Sounds of the “New World”
Symphony NH does Beethoven, Beach, Dvořák

By Angie Sykeny

 The works of three classical composers will come together when Symphony NH performs “Dvořák New World,” the first concert of its 2017-2018 season, themed “The Year of Beethoven.”

There will be three performances of “Dvořák New World,” on Friday, Oct. 6, Saturday, Oct. 7, and Tuesday, Oct. 10, in Concord, Nashua and Durham, respectively. 
The concert opens with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, followed by Amy Beach’s Symphony in E Minor “Gaelic Symphony” and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.” 
“There is both diversity and unity, which makes these pieces well suited to be played together,” said Robert Hoffman, continuing education coordinator for Symphony NH and double bass player in the orchestra. “They are full of contrasts and dramatic musical language, alternating emotional content and shifting moods and feelings that is all put together very well.” 
The Beethoven piece was written in 1807 for Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s 1804 tragedy Coriolan. It musically narrates the story of a military general who is torn between his resolve to go to war and his family’s pleading for him to stay at home. 
Beach’s Gaelic Symphony was written in 1894 and was the first symphony composed and published by a female American composer. Beach, who was born and raised in Henniker, premiered the piece in Boston in 1896. Symphony NH chose it, Hoffman said, in honor of Beach’s 150th birthday anniversary. The performance coincides with a series of events and exhibits hosted by the University of New Hampshire this fall, which celebrate Beach’s life and work. 
“It’s very important that we honor Amy Beach because of her New Hampshire and Boston connection,” Hoffman said, “She’s not as well known as some of the other composers, but it’s also important that we recognize composers who aren’t as familiar, because some of them have wonderful things to say in their music, and Beach is one of them.” 
Perhaps the most well-known piece of the concert, Hoffman said, is Dvořák’s symphony “From the New World,” written in 1893, just a year before Beach’s symphony. 
“A lot of people seem to know it. Even people who aren’t musicians can hum the famous tune,” he said. 
Both Dvořák’s and Beach’s symphonies were inspired by various folk elements; Dvořák, a Czech composer, drew from American folk while Beach, an American composer, drew from Gaelic folk. 
“They were very interested in the stylistic ways that folk music expressed people’s emotions and attitudes,” Hoffman said. “They wanted to reproduce the spirit of these songs, so they put their own spin on it and transformed it to be more in line with the type of music they wanted to write.”
While there are no solo instrumental moments during the concert, there are moments in which an instrument is featured for a particular melody. The best example of this, and one of the highlights of the concert, Hoffman said, is a “beautiful, haunting melody” in Dvořák’s symphony, played on an English horn. 
“The interpretation of a piece is about how the melodic lines are shaped,” Hoffman said. “So we pay a lot of attention to the ebb and flow of the melodies. We’re always thinking about what we can do with a melody to give it curve and shape communication.” 

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