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Steps to the New World • Dvořák’s The Water Goblin and The Noon Witch
Music has tremendous power to create new landscapes before our eyes, to paint lovely pictures, and to tell stories. Simply put, thanks to music we can transport ourselves to a different time and space. One of the musical genres invented especially for this purpose in the middle of the nineteenth century is called the symphonic poem.
The Water Goblin and The Noon Witch
Czech Student Philharmonic
Petr Kadlec guide
Marko Ivanović conductor
Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall
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The program is based on a musical part but also on a spoken word that will be given in Czech language only. The program will not be supplied with English subtitles.
Period reactions to Dvořák’s symphonic poems were often contradictory:
“To the extent of definiteness, clarity, and truthfulness in the wave of melodies, I have not yet heard any of what I would call a ‘direct language’ of instruments in the symphonic poems that are known to me, like The Water Goblin.” (Leoš Janáček)
“I enjoy listening to Dvořák’s music, and I feel its charms almost too sensitively, but I still could not fail to point out the danger of this most recent direction. Dvořák has no need to go begging to literature (and to such literature!) for his music. His wealth of musical invention needs no borrowings, crutches, or guides… It is a peculiar passion with which Dvořák is now devoting himself to ugly, unnatural, macabre subjects that correspond so little to his real feeling for music and his amiable character. In The Water Goblin, the goblin tears the head off his own child and throws it to the unfortunate mother, while in the Noon Witch it is a female monster in whose hands an innocent child is smothered.” (Viennese music critic and aesthetician Eduard Hanslick)