Want to incorporate classical music appreciation as a weekly component in your homeschool schedule? Come check out my kid-friendly, easy-on-the-parents Music Curriculum. You can try a free sample lesson HERE.
How has your summer been? It has flown by for me, and now that I am back in school, it seems it is over! It’s okay, the J in my Myers-Briggs gets to be happy now 😉
I am going to post a few more lessons from the Summer Playlist, and then I will have all new music for you beginning in September. If you want to catch up on what we have done so far, here’s our list of summer lessons:
- Summer from “The Four Seasons” // Vivaldi
- Radetzky March // Strauss
- Canon in D // Pachelbel
- The Frogs // Telemann
- Music for the Royal Fireworks // Handel
- Stars and Stripes Forever // Sousa
- Finlandia // Sibelius
Old World Composer, New World Music
I have a double-scoop lesson for you today: two movements of a super famous Symphony by Czechoslovakia’s favorite son. Back when Czechoslovakia was a country in the first place, anyway. But it wasn’t called that when he was alive. European geography is confusing, y’all.
Antonín Dvořák was born in what was then known as Bohemia. (We first talked about him back in May HERE). That lesson was on a more obscure piece, but today is his Big Daddy – the piece that put him and kept him on the classical music map: his Symphony #9, aka the New World Symphony.
But why is it called “New World?”
I’m glad you asked!
Though a successful composer in his home country, Antonín wanted to create a better life for his family. When he was offered the job as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City, he immediately accepted and moved across the ocean.
During his years traveling the “New World,” Dvořák was highly inspired by “American” music, meaning the sounds and melodies he heard emanating from Native American and African American cultures. He took all that inspiration and infused it into his 9th Symphony, which came to be known as “From the New World” or the “New World Symphony.”
Quick symphony lesson: most of the time, symphonies have four “movements” – a fancy way of saying four distinct parts. Movements are usually named after how fast/slow the tempo is, but the terms are in Italian, so they won’t make sense.
For the New World Symphony, we are going to look at two movements – the 2nd and 4th.
First, the 2nd. This is the Largo movement. That’s fancy for “fairly slow.” Have a listen:
Gorgeous, right? In 1922, Dvořák’s pupil William Arms Fisher added words to the memorable melody, and the piece began to be known as “Goin’ Home.” Over the years, it became commonly used at military funerals.
Now for the 4th movement, the allegro con fuoco, which is a fancy way of saying, “fast and fiery.”
And fast and fiery, it is.
So here’s the thing: John Williams has always insisted this had nothing to do with the theme from Jaws. No one loves you more than me, John Williams, but the similarity is kind of undeniable.
First 15 seconds of each here. Judge for yourself.
Yes? No? Agree? Disagree?
John Williams will never tell.
And that’s the New World Symphony! Want to hear the whole thing, start to finish? This is fantastic schoolwork background music. Enjoy!
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