“Wherever I go I can think of nothing else. God grant that this Czech music will move the world!” The opportunity for Dvořák to write a seventh symphony bore with it a sense of responsibility. At the time of its writing, the composer was already widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading creative minds, yet his keen sense of patriotism inspired him to do more than merely construct an abstract music expression; any such composition should also further the cultural aims of his Czech homeland. The resulting work brought instant acclaim, with eminent British musicologist Sir Donald Tovey crowning it “among the greatest and purest examples in this art-form since Beethoven”.
Joining Dvořák on the program is Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, a colorful, multi-national work that stands as one of the composer’s more conservative, melodically-rich creations. Violinist Kyung Sun Lee joins the orchestra as soloist, with the evocative soundscapes of Debussy’s ever-popular Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (“Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”) concluding this sparkling program.