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poster for 2010 Maps and Legends: Disc 7 poster for 2010 Maps and Legends: Disc 7
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× Disc 7 celebrates “Dvořák’s America.” Universally renowned at the end of the nineteenth century as one of the supreme composers of his generation as well as the greatest champion of his native Czech music, Antonín Dvořák received an invitation in 1891 to lead the National Conservatory in New York and guide America’s composers in discovering their own musical language. With the help of the African American singer and composer Harry T. Burleigh, whose arrangements and performances of Negro spirituals Dvořák lovingly absorbed, the Czech master became fluent in the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic traits of American folk styles. During the summer of 1893, while living in the Czech community of Spillville, Iowa, Dvořák captured the essence of Americana in two classic chamber works: his Opus 96 String Quartet and Opus 97 String Quintet, both nicknamed American. The recording also illustrates the evolution of American song since Dvořák’s time, featuring the great American composer Samuel Barber’s Four Songs, op. 13.