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A determined scribbler

Donald Macleod follows Dvorak through his early struggles, both as a composer and in his personal life..

Antonín Dvořák was no spring chicken when he found success as a composer. He was in his early thirties before he made his mark in his native Czech Republic, despite composing from a young age. Donald Macleod follows Dvořák as he attempts to win over successive audiences: from Prague to Vienna, England to America, before eventually returning to Prague and to the opera stage. Who did he need to impress in order to achieve the success he craved?

Today we’re in the Czech Republic, where the not so young Dvořák eventually overcame professional and personal disappointment to wow audiences and critics alike. Highly self-critical of his own work, Dvořák claimed that as a young man he was never short of paper to light a fire. But despite a slow start he never gave up his dream of being a composer.

Thanks to some supportive individuals Dvořák was eventually catapulted to fame, despite an early attempt at opera which was declared “worse than Wagner … unsingable”.

We’ll hear a concert overture, a movement from the first of Dvořák’s symphonies to be performed publicly, and a series of love songs which were originally composed with his wife’s sister in mind.

Slavonic Dances, Op 46 (Dumka)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

In Nature’s Realm, Op 91
Ulster Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor

Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Op 10 (3rd movt Allegro Vivace)
Czech Philharmonic
Jiří Bělohlávek, conductor

Písně Milostné, Op 83
Bernanda Fink, mezzo-soprano
Roger Vignoles, piano

Serenade, Op 44 (Minuetto)
Oslo Philharmonic Wind Soloists

Produced by Cerian Arianrhod for BBC Cymru Wales

14 days left to listen

59 minutes

Last on

Mon 4 Nov 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Antonín Dvořák

    Slavonic Dances, Op 46 No 2

    Orchestra: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • TELDEC : 8573--81038-2.
    • TELDEC.
    • 2.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    In Nature's Realm, Op 91

    Orchestra: Ulster Orchestra. Conductor: Vernon Handley.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-8453.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 1.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Op 10 (3rd movement)

    Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic. Conductor: Jiří Bělohlávek.
    • DECCA : 478-6757.
    • DECCA.
    • 3.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    8 Love Songs, Op 83

    Performer: Roger Vignoles. Singer: Bernarda Fink.
    • Harmonia Mundi 901824.
    • 1.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Serenade for winds in D minor, Op 44 (2nd movement)

    Ensemble: Oslo Philharmonic Wind Soloists.
    • NAXOS 8.554173.
    • NAXOS.
    • 2.


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