J. C. Kuehn Miller

Read. Write. Repeat. Aspire to be a Janitor.

Music Monday: Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9

This might come as a surprise to some, but I am an avid classical music fan. I’m not particularly fond of the Italian composers. My personal favorite is Jean Sibelius from Finland.

Those of you who know me may be thinking, oh he’ll write about Sibelius’s First. NOPE.

This past weekend I have been devouring Antonin Dvorak’s 9th symphony and his Slavonic Dance 1 & 2.

Alright, I have to admit the reason I first found Dvorak was because his name was so freaking awesome. With a name like Dvorak, you will either be a genius or a dunce in a Shakespearean play. He turned out to be the former. At times, though, certain elements in the 9th are light and playful, yet ingenious, like Feste the Fool in The 12th Night.

Now, if you have never listened to Dvorak, go ahead and give this a listen:

Antonin has been credited as the most influential composer on American music. Listening to the 9th leads me to believe this is a very true statement. There are themes that remind me of Harry Potter, Jaws, Lord of the Rings, and Braveheart.

Movement One

In the first movement, we are tossed into a world that is quite uninviting. Is it the threat of something new? Is it the knowledge that you will never be able to see your loved ones again? Regardless, we are tossed head first into rugged terrain, dense forests, and natives that are anything but hospitable.

There’s a glimmer of hope though.

Movement Two

We find ourselves surrounded by idyllic sunrises, the smell of grass being wafted by the wind. His 2nd movement paints us a picture of Hobbit children running in a field by day and nestling up by the fireplace in the evening. The night continues as we are abruptly awaken to a brand new day filled with hopes, dreams, and potential. We stretch our arms as we walk out the front door to behold the morning sun kissing the rolling hills around us.

Movement Three

Scherzo, Molto Vivace. 3rd movement.

The bountiful harvest.  Don your straw hat and cover the back of your neck because we’re going to be in the field all day bringing in the food for which we’ve been waiting. The neighbors meet in the common area between the thatched roof houses, all bringing plump tomatoes, baked chicken, greens, and beans. The scene ends in a town-wide dance. The women laugh; the men smile over their lit pipes; the children run around screaming in joy; the new world is theirs.

Movement Four

Then, is it Jaws? The 4 movement starts ominously. It is soon overtaken by an extreme pride.

The first family to move west is standing on a mountain ridge over looking the wild, uninhabited land. They do not see danger nor hardship. They see an explosion of possibility. They see their future. Looking for land to call their own, the family sits down to eat lunch beside a clear brook slicing down the mountainside.

After months of travelling, the family finally finds a place to call their own.

The symphony does not flicker out, or fade. It ends in a voluptuous, memory laden sunset. It ends with the beginning of something completely new, completely free, completely theirs.


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This entry was posted on January 27, 2014 by in Music Monday and tagged , , , .
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