Friday, March 2, 2012

Composer Study - Antonin Dvorak

This week we learned about the composer Antonin Dvorak, and the very first thing I learned was that I have probably been pronouncing his name wrong for at least 30 years.  Oops.  In my defense, I am not fluent in Czech.  If you're not either, our guide told us that his last name is supposed to be pronounced "duh-VOR-zhahk."

No matter how you pronounce it, Dvorak was a hard-working and visionary composer.  He studied the organ, piano and violin; and while determined to compose, he continued to work as a church organist until he had a publisher paying him for his works.  He was influenced by Beethoven, mentored by Johannes Brahms, and incorporated his fascination with African-American spirituals and Native American music into some of his works.  He predicted that black music would play a role in future American music, and was proved right because the beginnings of jazz were soon to come.

Dvorak's best-known works are his Ninth Symphony, known as the New World Symphony, and the American String Quartet.  We are listening to these on CD this week.  My computer's speakers are not working right now, so we can't listen on YouTube.

This post is linked at ~a teaching heart~ where we are keeping each other accountable for making time for music in our homeschooling!

a teaching heart


Christina said...

What exactly do you do for your composer studies? Read a bio and listen to some works? I am trying to implement something similar in my house and am gathering ideas. :)

Kym Thorpe said...

Hi Christina,

We are using A Young Scholar's Guide to the Composers from Bright Ideas press. Basically it is a biography of each composer with a review page for the students, and includes map work, a timeline, and listening suggestions.

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