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Antonín Dvorák - Symphony No. 7 & "The Golden Spinning Wheel"

Release date: 01 May 2009, 5186082


Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Yakov Kreizberg


Antonín Dvořák






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YOU HAVE SELECTED:  Duration Price Price Price Price  
Symphony No. 7 in D minor Op. 70 37:22   $
Allegro maestoso 10:31   $
Poco adagio 9:46   $
Scherzo – Vivace 7:26   $
Finale – Allegro 9:39   $
Zlatý kolovrat Op. 109 (The Golden Spinning Wheel) 28:18   $
Zlatý kolovrat 28:18   $

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Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Three metropolises within the same country, the Austro-Hungarian double monarchy, with Vienna as the capital of the Habsburg part, and Prague as that of the historic kingdom of Bohemia. But as Bohemia was actually an Austrian province, Prague was subordinate to Vienna. This would evolve into a source of increasing frustration and political tension. After all, following the 1867 ‘Ausgleich’ (= compromise), in which the double monarchy was split into both an Austrian and an independent Hungarian part – to be sure, under the same king – many Czechs thought it time for Bohemia to achieve a similar status. However, the Habsburgers refused categorically to cooperate, especially as the indigenous Germans, who formed the second largest ethnic group in Bohemia after the Czechs, feared they would lose their privileged position. Therefore, alongside diplomatic campaigns, the Czechs concentrated increasingly on developing their own cultural identity during the following years. Thus, the Czech ‘rebirth’ was most especially a cultural renaissance intended as compensation for their lack of political influence.

The Golden Spinning Wheel tells the story of a young king, who stops at a small shack during a hunt to ask for water. He is immediately smitten by the maiden Dornicka, who opens the door to him. She is busy spinning wool, awaiting her stepmother. A few days later, the king returns and orders the stepmother to bring the girl to the castle. She does as she is told, and duly sets out with her own daughter and Dornicka. Halfway to the castle, the two women chop off Dornicka’s hands and feet, and put out her eyes. They leave her body behind in the woods. The king then marries the other daughter, under the misapprehension that Dornicka had been torn apart by wolves. In the meantime, Dornicka’s body is found by an old man, who sends a youth to the castle to offer the queen a golden spinning wheel and spindle in exchange for Dornicka’s hands, feet and eyes. With these limbs, the old man manages to bring the girl back to life. Upon the king’s return from warfare, he asks his wife to spin him something on her new golden spinning wheel. However, the spinning wheel starts singing a song about the atrocities committed in the woods, whereupon the king leaves to search for the true Dornicka. He finally finds her and marries her, after feeding the false Dornicka and her mother to the wolves.

In his symphonic poems, Dvořák dealt with his literary examples in a highly individual manner, depicting the course of the narrative in great melodic lines. However, he went a step further in The Golden Spinning Wheel. All the musical ideas in this work were developed from the melodies and rhythms inherent in the words of Erben’s original text. The orchestral work follows the text of the poem word for word, bestowing upon the work the character of an extensive ‘Lied ohne Worte’. Indeed, it was this aspect that would appeal to the composer Leos Janáček.

In his operas, he was to further perfect the technique of developing the musical lines from the spoken word, thus coming up with an entirely new musical idiom for the Czech people.

Antonín Dvorák - Symphony No. 7 & "The Golden Spinning Wheel"

Category Orchestral

Period Romantic

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