Saturday, 14 March 2009


“Where we love is home. Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr

What kind of music would you write, if you were able to, to express the pain of a great loss? A loss of a loved one, a loss of a home, of a country? A loss of an ideal, of a dream, of an idea? For me, it is the following piece: Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, and in particular the second movement…

Dvořák composed the Quartet in 1893 during a summer retreat from his teaching post in New York. He spent his holiday in the village of Spillville, Iowa, which was home to a Czech immigrant community. The quartet was written around the same time as the New World Symphony, the masterpiece of Dvořák's years in the United States. Of his time in Spillville, Dvořák said "As for my new Symphony, the F major String Quartet and the Quintet (composed here in Spillville) - I should never have written these works 'just so' if I hadn't seen America." In the second movement, a listener may detect the melancholic longing of an African American spiritual, a sentiment with which the homesick Dvořák sympathised.

Enjoy your weekend!

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