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Did Dvorak Compose “Deep River”?

Though there are some historians of American music who dispute the crucial importance of Dvorak, and many more who simply ignore him, that the impact of his short American sojourn (1892-1895) remains incalculable was driven home afresh during the recent "Dvorak and America" NEH teacher-training institute in Pittsburgh. After World War I, the iconic American spiritual was "Deep River." The person mainly responsible for that was Dvorak's one-time African-American assistant Harry Burleigh. Burleigh's version of "Deep River" was in fact … [Read more...]

Swapping Horowitz for Arrau

SWAPPING HOROWITZ FOR ARRAU As readers of this blog may be aware, my son Bernie is a diehard Vladimir Horowitz enthusiast who has forced me to my knees ("Horowitz on Horowitz on Horowitz on Horowitz: A Recantation") - more or less. Bernie recently restored the "Vladimir Horowitz Website," which had been taken offline. He continues to collect obscure concert and studio recordings in pursuit of a comprehensive library of Horowitz performances spanning six decades. He regularly assaults me with putative new evidence of Horowitz's genius. "Not … [Read more...]

Reinventing the Orchestra: The Role of Education

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the other day that, "facing chronic red ink and houses only two-thirds full," the Philadelphia Orchestra might be undertaking "profound change." Alison Vulgamore, the orchestra's president, was quoted saying, "We simply can't go on doing the same thing . . . we have to be able to experiment." Already, there are American orchestras in cities like Memphis and Louisville that seem intent on reinventing themselves. Elsewhere, symphonic reinvention is nascent, or merely handwriting on the wall. It has long seemed … [Read more...]

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