And now, Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 in G Major!
I love this symphony. Always have. It's always been one of my favorite symphonies of all time, and certainly my favorite of Dvorak's, even above the amazing, tuneful 9th. This music is so well-attuned to me, with its sense of lyrical good cheer and its Dvorakian attention to folk and dance rhythms. This is the music of Eastern Europe. I call anyone heartless who isn't moved to at least a little bit of happiness upon hearing this work.
Pay special attention to the finale, a theme-and-variations that opens with a trumpet fanfare. (How I would have loved to have been able to play this!) One conductor once said of this opening: "Gentlemen, in Bohemia the trumpets never call to battle – they always call to the dance!" This movement is just a fun listen, as Dvorak builds the theme from its first statement, through the orchestra, until it explodes in full force with blazing brass (note the loud trills in the horns). There is just so much pure delight in this symphony! In terms of pure optimism, the only symphony that might outpace it is Beethoven's Seventh. (Yes I consider Beethoven's Seventh an optimistic work, even with that magnificently brooding slow movement.)
Here's Dvorak's Eighth.
Next week: Yup. The Ninth. Time to visit "the New World"!