Five essential works by Dvořák

We choose the best pieces by the Czech composing legend

Published: March 10, 2019 at 10:00 am

Symphony No. 9, ‘New World’

Dvořák’s attempt to write a symphony using native American music and spirituals has ear-catching melodies
and evocative orchestration.

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Recommended recording:
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop
Naxos 8.570714

Slavonic Dances

Dvořák originally composed his zestful tribute to the folk music of his homeland for piano duet. Such was the success of the first series that he wrote a sequel.

Recommended recording:
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Mackerras
Supraphon SU 3808-2

Rusalka

Dvořák's most famous opera is widely known for the title character’s beautiful 'Invocation to the Moon'.

Recommended recording:
Ana María Martínez, Larissa Diadkova; Glyndebourne Chorus; LPO/Jiří Bělohlávek
Glyndebourne GFOCD 007-09

String Quartet No. 12, ‘American’

Dvořák composed string quartets during most of his career. His American Quartet took inspiration from spirituals.

Recommended recording:
Prazák Quartet Praga
PR 250110

Cello Concerto

Arguably the greatest of the Romantic cello concertos – an impassioned hymn to his homeland and a poignant tribute to his recently deceased sister-in-law.

Recommended recording:
Pieter Wispelwey; Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer
Channel CCSSA 25807

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Authors

Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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