Leiden Symphonic Project Orchestra
Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”
On Saturday, November 6, 2021, the great ‘Mayflower Concert’ will finally take place: the Ninth Symphony by composer Antonín Dvořák, will be performed in the Hooglandse Kerk, conducted by Guido Marchena. This popular symphony ‘From the New World’ symbolizes the Pilgrim Fathers, who sailed to America 400 years ago on the glorious ‘Mayflower’, in search of a new homeland. The concert, which lasts about an hour, offers an excellent opportunity for all descendants of the Pilgrims to pay their respects.
In 2020 it will be 400 years since the Mayflower sailed to America carrying the Pilgrim Fathers. The Pilgrim Fathers were part of a fascinating period in Leiden history during the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of the young Dutch Republic. On the occasion of the Mayflower’s 400th anniversary, many events were planned at various venues in the Netherlands and England. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic threw a spanner in the works. Fortunately, the concert will be performed on November 6, 2021. The orchestra consists of more than 100 orchestra members from Leiden and the surrounding area, who have rehearsed this beautiful work under conductor Guido Marchena.
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The year 2020 marked the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, a ship that carried a group of English separatists known as the ‘Pilgrims’. Before the Pilgrims set sail to America and founded Plymouth Colony in 1620, they spent twelve years living, working and praying in Leiden, free from religious persecution by the English crown.
Four centuries after this journey, America, England, the Native Nations and the Netherlands will organize an international, inclusive commemoration. It will highlight not only the story of the Pilgrims but the cultures and places they came into contact with as well.
The Commemoration Years 2020 and 2021 will see many local and international activities and events to focus on the story of the Pilgrims and study it from a range of viewpoints so as to contribute to mutual understanding and critical reflection in order for future generations to be inspired.
This is why our motto is: One commemoration, 4 nations, a 1000 voices.
Saturday, November 6
Introduction by maestro Guido Marchena
The Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op. 95
1. Adagio — Allegro molto
3. Scherzo: Molto vivace — Poco sostenuto
4. Allegro con fuoco
With collaboration of Leiden Student Orchestra ‘S.M.G. Sempre Crescendo’
Guido Marchena, Conductor
Dvorak Symphony No.9
Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 is nicknamed ‘New World’ because Dvorak wrote it during the time he spent in the U.S. in the 1890s. His experiences in America (including his discovery of African-American and Native-American melodies) and his longing for home colored his music with mixed emotions.
Dvořák was interested in Native American music and the African-American spirituals he heard in America. As a director of the National Conservatory, he encountered an African-American student, Harry T. Burleigh, later a composer himself, who sang traditional spirituals to him and said that Dvořák had absorbed their ‘spirit’ before writing his own melodies. Dvořák stated:”I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Native American music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral colour.” In 1893, a newspaper interview quoted Dvořák saying: “I found that the music of the black and native Americans was practically identical”, and that “the music of the two races bore a remarkable similarity to the music of Scotland.” Most historians agree that Dvořák is referring to the pentatonic scale, which is typical of each of these musical traditions.
Livestream concerts have made great strides in the past year. During a livestream of our concert, it is of course the best to be able to watch this on a big screen! Because it works differently with every device, we give some tips on how to view.
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