Antonin Dvorak Concerto in B minor for Cello and Orchestra; The Water Goblin; In Nature’s Realm Zuill Bailey (cello), Jun Markel conducting the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Review By Max Westler

Though several of the works Dvorak wrote during his four year stay in the New World reflect his interest in the folkloric music he heard there (most famously, the "New World" Symphony and the "American" Quartet), the cello concerto harkens back to his native Czechoslovakia with a sense of longing and nostalgia that's unusually personal. By 1895 the composer had wearied of life in hyperkinetic New York City where he was finishing up his third year as Director of the National Conservatory of Music, and had begun to suffer from an intense homesickness for the rural landscapes he had left behind. But he was also coping with a family tragedy, the illness (and later the death) of his beloved sister-in-law Josefina. Trapped in New York and unable to cope with feelings of helplessness and loss, Dvorak made his new cello concerto her memorial. The second movement includes a quote from his Op. 82, No. 2 (the song "Let me alone") because it was one of Josefina's favorites. The Rondo ends not with the display of brilliance or virtuosity one would normally expect, but with an ecstatic love duet for cello and violin that is a fitting coda to their relationship. Feint pizzicato heartbeats precede the final climax.


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