Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) stands alongside Smetana as a founder of the new Czech music. His nine symphonies, presented here for the first time as a filmed cycle, show Dvořák to be a thoroughly individual and original composer whose symphonic concepts and wealth of musical expression are often surprising, representing a distinctly different engagement with the formal legacy of the nineteenth century from one symphony to the next. All the symphonies in this cycle were performed in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague, one of Europe’s oldest and loveliest concert halls and also where Dvořák conducted the first concert by today’s Czech Philharmonic in 1896. Jiří Bělohlávek, Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, is considered an established authority on the Slavic music of his homeland.
The cycle also features this documentation of Dvořák’s life and symphonic achievement. Jiří Bělohlávek visits important places in the composer’s life, interviews experts and key figures and investigates how his symphonies came to be so successful.