Wednesday, April 6, 2011

That Hovis Tune...

After hearing Lorna's delightful rendition on the bass recorder I was moved to undertake some e-research.
It is a charming melody, and has always been one of my favourites.
Here's a youtube thingy: adagio

Of course, most educated people recognise the tune as a theme from the second movement of Antonin Dvorak's 9th symphony, subtitled 'From the New World'.

The melody is variously known as the 'largo', the 'adagio' or 'the cor Anglais'.
A cor Anglais is a woodwind instrument that looks thus:

Dvorak is celebrated thus in Prague:

Regarding his melodies, Dvorak was significantly influenced by the music of native-Americans and that of the Afro-Carribean population.

He wrote as follows:
"I am convinced that the future music of this country [USA] must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them."

Dvorak wrote the piece, commissioned by the NY Symphony Orchestra, that was first performed in 1893.

Hovis bread was introduced in 1886.

So, this IS folk music.

Hovis is just commercially produced bread!

Oh, well, if you insist ...


parkingspaceman said...

No, it isn't 'folk music'. If Wikipedia is quoting correctly, Dvorak wrote/said "I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes...". Thus: datable, attributable, original - not qualities of folk music by any definition which sets boundaries (so "what you hear in a folk club" is not an admissible definition). (Dvorak observed similarities between Native American music, Negro music, and Scottish music, but this might simply have been because of the use of the pentatonic scale).

parkingspaceman said...

It's not the adagio, either - that's the tempo for part of the first movement. It's from the (largo) Second Movement. Tsk, tsk! It must be the advent of another year, bringing on (further) mental decline.