Between 1884 and 1896, Dvorák visited Britain nine times - with enormous benefit both to himself and to musical life on these shores. The platforms offered by London's conductors and concert venues helped to launch him as a composer of international stature. Before his first visit to London, he was known only in the German-speaking world and his native Bohemia. By his fifth visit, his fame was on a par with that of his friend and untiring advocate Brahms.
Donald Macleod explores the origins of Dvorák's relationship with the British Isles, from his earliest musical calling-card, the Slavonic Dances opus 46, first presented to British audiences at Crystal Palace in February 1879, to the triumphant reception accorded him five years later when he conducted his Stabat Mater at the Royal Albert Hall. A key element along the way, before he had even set foot here, was his enthusiastic endorsement by musical luminaries such as the violinist Joachim, who presented Dvorák's String Sextet in London in 1880, and the conductor Hans Richter, who championed a string of Dvorák's works, beginning with the 3rd Slavonic Rhapsody.