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Symphony No. 9 (Dvorak)

The Symphony No. 9, opus 95, "From the New World", popularly known as the New World Symphony was composed by Antonin Dvorak in 1893. It is in four movements:

  1. Adagio - Allegro molto
  2. Largo
  3. Scherzo: Molto vivace
  4. Allegro con fuoco

Dvorak wrote it during his visit to the United States from 1892 to 1895. Of the four movements, the second is the most popular with its wistful and nostalgic mood.

Dvorak was interested in the native American music and African-American spiritualss he heard in America. In an article published in the New York Herald on December 15, 1893, Dvorak explained how these had been an influence on this symphony:

"I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral color."

In the same article, Dvorak stated that he regarded the symphony's second movement as a "sketch or study for a later work, either a cantata or opera ... which will be based upon Longfellow's [Song of] Hiawatha" (he never actually wrote such a piece). He also wrote that the third movement scherzo was "suggested by the scene at the feast in Hiawatha where the Indians dance".

Despite all this, it is generally considered that, like other Dvorak pieces, the work has more in common with folk music of his native Bohemia than with that of the United States.