From the New World

After I finished my memoir, I took time to reflect on what I had written. My pilot and I were married for 52 years, during which time we experienced our share of adversities, each one compelling. We blazed trails through those new worlds—applying our love as a fixative to repair the difficulties and sustain the triumphs—and discovered we were stronger for it.  

Bernie’s dad handed us a recording of Antonin Dvorak’s, New World Symphony after we were married. Did he know then, how much the piece would find a place in our lives? Rudy and Gretel emigrated from Germany in the late 20s. “You two are entering a New World,” Rudy said, “just as we did when we came to America.” 

Dvorak’s Symphony #9, which he called, “From the New World,” became our favorite classical piece that went with my pilot and me each time we moved to another state. Finally, the 33-long play version wore itself out, and we bought a new one, and then a DVD version. Hearing the symphony from the audience of the Long Island Philharmonic Orchestra was a thrill that led us to explore another world, the sphere of classical music which we both came to love. 

The great Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak, wrote the symphony in 1893, during his 3-year sojourn in America. He was fascinated by African-America spirituals he encountered at the New York National Conservatory of Music in America in New York City where he was a composer-teacher. The Native American songs he heard while attending a Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show intrigued him, too, as well as the Czech and Bohemian music he enjoyed in Spillville, Iowa. Dvorak wondered why American composers looked to Europe for inspiration, when such a rich musical tradition existed in their own country.     

In 1892, Dvorak led the World Fair’s Orchestra at Columbian Exposition in Chicago—the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the New World in 1492.  

Now, I’m planning to dive into another new world, and begin a book about my paternal grandparents from Missouri. My grandfather’s letters from 1893, tell me he also attended the World’s Fair Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, as Dvorak had. If they crossed paths, I’ll never know…but it’s fun to imagine it. 

It was no surprise to me upon hearing Neil Armstrong, had taken a tape recording of the masterpiece along during his Apollo 11 moon landing mission in 1969. A legacy for posterity, Dvorak would approve of.   

New World Symphony is the byname of Symphony No.9 in E. Minor Op.95, From the New World. 

Follow this link if you’d like to hear it. 

Click Here:

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