Dvořák wrote his Eighth Symphony during 1889 at Vysoká, where he had a small country house. He conducted the first performance in Prague in February 1890 and introduced it to London, a city in which he enjoyed immense popularity, two months later. The symphony was published in London and for a time was known as the “English Symphony”, although its Czech origins are apparent in every bar. Notwithstanding the immense achievement of the Seventh Symphony in D minor, Dvořák determined that its successor would be different from the others, »with individual thoughts worked out in a new way«. Where it differs is in the rather experimental formal structure of the first and last movements; in contrast to the Seventh, composed in a classical mould, they have a rhapsodic, improvisatory character. But the work’s melodic fecundity is such that the listener is happy to be swept along by an irresistible flow of tunes, scored with exceptional colour and brilliance.
2. Allegro ma non Troppo
Herbert Von Karajan