Dvorak – “The New World Symphony”

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Before I get to my musical note, I want to share with you an incredible TED talk by Benjamin Zander, “The Transformative Power of Classical Music” (watch it here). Mr. Zander makes the point that “Everyone loves classical music; they just don’t know it yet.”

I was asked recently by a reporter why I include classical music and my father’s art with my articles, and what the reader feedback has been. Here is what I answered:

One day I started sharing classical music with my readers. I just did. Not sure why. When I psychoanalyze that decision I find many reasons, and I’m not sure I can point to a single one.

But here’s a list of them, just off the top of my head:

(1) I truly love classical music. Its longevity fascinates me. We still listen today to music that was composed hundreds of years ago.

(2) Writing about classical music forces me to learn more about it. Even before I started writing about it, I was considering auditing a music appreciation class at the local university. Now I have an excuse to learn!

(3) I really enjoy getting readers’ feedback and their suggestions. Many of my readers know more about classic music than I do, so I get to learn from them.

(4) Since I write about it, now I can justify spending hours on Youtube listening to various performances.

(5) I love investing, and I love writing about it. But sometimes I feel it consumes too much of me. Writing about other subjects that are sometimes personal in nature, be it music or a trip to Santa Fe or Key West, is a nice diversion. Life is too short to spend it thinking only about investments.

The response I have received so far has been terrific. Those who don’t care about classical music just skip that portion of the email. But a lot of people want to learn more, and I provide an opportunity for them to do so. For others it is just excuse to listen to some beautiful music.

About art: I wanted to share my father’s art. I wanted others to see it. Now, if I forget to include one of my father’s pictures, I get emails along the lines of “Vitaliy, your articles are okay, but please don’t send them without your father’s art.”

Now the musical note: I only recently discovered Antonin Dvorak’s music. I’ve shared an aria from the opera Rusalka in the past (you can listen to Leontyne Price singing “Song of the Moon”).

A few weeks ago I discovered and fell in love with a new piece by Dvorak: Symphony No. 9, also known as “The New World Symphony” (okay, it’s new to me). Part 2 of this symphony sounds very Irish. You be the judge: go to the 11-minute mark. Neil Armstrong took a recording of this symphony to the Moon on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission.

Here are two wonderful versions:

Viena Philharmonic – Herbert Von Karajan:

New York Philharmonic – Leonard Bernstein:


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Antonin Dvorak


  • Leif Smith says:

    Why has classical music had such a long and durable life? A fascinating and important question.

    These two books have something to offer:

    The Craft of Musical Composition, by Paul Hindemith

    Feeling and Form, by Susanne K. Langer

    Hindemith: the physics of music is universal and inescapable.

    Langer’s definition of art: “Art is the creation of form symbolic of human feeling” —Susanne K. Langer, Feeling and Form, pg. 40, Scribner’s, 1953.

    When an email about music arrives I look forward to the included art.

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