Concert - Dvorak’s Symphony no.9 ‘From the New World’

In 1973 the soon-to-be movie director Ridley Scott produced what was last month voted Britain’s favourite ever advert. A small boy pushed an old-fashioned bike up a cobbled street, to the strains of a nostalgic melody which became synonymous with the simple ways of the north. “When I were a lad…” the narrator’s voice begins, before extolling the virtues of bread wi’ nowt taken out. Later on that decade, I used to hum the tune on Brighton and Hove Albion’s North Stand, along with hundreds of other supporters, to take the mickey out of rival supporters from anywhere north of Derby. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I realised where the music came from: it was the second movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. I bought a beautiful recording of the symphony on a visit to Prague while I was living in Italy, and played it when I was feeling nostalgic for Lewes.

In fact in 1893 Dvorak wrote the New World Symphony as an ode to the spirit of modernity and inventiveness of the United States of America, where he had just moved. It has become one of the most popular pieces of classical music, and forms the bulk of tonight’s concert, by The South Downs Youth Orchestra. Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 2 and Mozart’s Adagio for violin complete the bill. Meanwhile Hovis have put their Ridley Scott ad back on our screens to celebrate its award. Dvorak would surely have smiled at the irony: he was the son of a grocer. AL

Dvorak’s no. 9: a symphony wi’ nowt taken out
Lewes Town Hall
How Much? 7.30pm
How Much? £5/£3

Dvorak New World Symphony
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