Symphony No.9 ('From the New World')
Antonin Dvořák

17

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The highest of Dvořák's 5 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 15 in the first ever countdown in 1996.

The subtitle of Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 is important: it's not 'to the New World'; it's 'from'. This is very much a symphony that looks back, from the USA, to Dvořák's native Bohemia. It is almost as if he were stood atop Lady Liberty herself, hand over his forehead to shield the sun, desperately looking to see if he can make out his faraway homeland.

When he premiered this work in Carnegie Hall in 1893, critics disagreed over whether it was an all-American symphony or just more of Dvořák's usual fare. What is certain is that it has lived on its myriad merits ever since, remaining one of the most popular symphonies of all.

The New World, from the Foresteria by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1757).