Classical Music Library Free Download of the Week

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Every two weeks, Alexander Street offers a free music download from our popular online music collection. This download is freely available, regardless of whether or not your library subscribes to the collection.

String Quartet No. 12 by Antonin Dvořák

Czech composer Antonin Dvořák (1841–1904) completed his twelfth string quartet in the summer of 1893 while on summer vacation in Spillville, Iowa. Dvořák had been living in the United States for nine months after receiving a position from Jeannette Thurber to serve as the artistic director and professor of composition at the National Conservatory of Music in America. His stay in the United States produced several works whose names reference his home at the time, the most famous of which is his ninth symphony, “From the New World.” His “American” works are known as such not just because Dvořák was in the United States when he wrote them, but because they were influenced by American musical traditions, specifically folk music, black spirituals, and Native American music. The extent to which American music influenced Dvořák’s music has been debated for over a century, but Dvořák did admit he would “never have written these works ‘just so’ if [he] hadn’t seen America.”
 
The “American” string quartet premiered in Boston on New Year’s Day in 1894, eleven days before the premiere of the “American” string quintet. This recording is performed by the Enesco Quartet. 

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