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Antonín Dvořák

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Nelahozeves, Czechia (1841 – 1904)

Antonín Leopold Dvořák (1841–1904) was a Czech composer of romantic music, who employed the idioms and melodies of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. His works include operas, symphonic, choral and chamber music. His best-known works include his symphonic works (above all “New World Symphony”), Slavonic Dances, String Quartets, Concertos for cello (Concerto in B minor) and violin, oratorial compositions Requiem, Stabat Mater and Te Deum.

Dvořák was born on 8th September 1841 in Nelahozeves, Czechia, near Prague, where he spent most of his life. He studied music in Prague’s only Organ School at the end of the 1850s, and slowly developed himself as an accomplished violinist and violist. Throughout the 1860s he played viola in the Bohemian Provisional Theater Orchestra, which was from 1866 conducted by Bedřich Smetana. The need to supplement his income by teaching left Dvořák with limited free time, and in 1871 he gave up the orchestra in order to compose. He fell in love with one of his pupils and wrote a song cycle, Cypress Trees, expressing his anguish at her marriage to another man. However, he soon overcame his despondency, and in 1873 married her sister, Anna Čermáková.

In 1891 he wrote the famous Requiem Mass, similarly as Stabat Mater and Te Deum his major sacred work. Composition is a reflection of generally alarming questions of human being. The opus shows much of the tonal colour, original instrumentation, impressiveness and purity of composer´s mature work.

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