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Dvorak Te Deum, Elgar Music Makers, Dvorak 8th Symphony
with Orchestra Vitae

Saturday, 07 April 2018, 19:30 - 21:45
Guildford Cathedral, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7UP

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A frequent hallmark of Czech composer Antonín Leopold Dvořák‘s (1841-1904) writing style was to incorporate aspects, typically the rhythms, of the folk music of his native Bohemia, with Moravian and other Slavic traditional music. Mixing in influences from his admiration for Wagner’s work resulted in the distinctive sound that continues to entertain and inspire audiences to this day. He struggled in his early years to establish himself as a known composer outside Prague and it was Johannes Brahms who played a significant part in bringing Dvořák, now in his early 30s, to the world’s attention. Brahms was the leading member of the jury of the Austrian State Prize for Composition and was so impressed by the quality of the submitted scores that Dvořák was awarded the prize in 1874, 1876 & 1877.
Of the nine symphonies it is believed he wrote, several of which remained unpublished at the time of his death, perhaps the 9th (otherwise titled the New World Symphony or sometimes From the New World) is the best known. His Symphony No. 8 was written in 1889 to mark Dvořák’s election to the Bohemian Academy of Science, Literature and Arts and is characterised by its warmer, cheerful and more optimistic tone compared to the other symphonies.
On the choral writing side, his large Stabat Mater and Requiem are well-established members of the choral repertoire and are performed on a regular basis. The Te Deum was written in 1892 and dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. He moved to the country that year having been appointed Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York.
Elgar’s The Music Makers was commissioned for, and first performed at, the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, 1912 although Elgar had been working on the music as a non-commissioned work for a while prior to that. Based on the poem Ode by Arthur O'Shaughnessy, the music is for the most part reserved and personal, with Elgar often quoting phrases from his other compositions including The Dream of Gerontius and Enigma Variations.
Following an absence of four years, primarily as a result of large-scale refurbishment of Guildford Cathedral's nave during that period, WCS is delighted to be returning to one of our favourite venues and we look forward to performing again in this wonderful space.
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