If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:55

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World," analysis by Gerard Schwarz (part 3)

Video transcript

- The third movement of this great symphony is the scherzo, he marks it molto vivace, very, very fast and the opening is very reminiscent of Beethoven 9th opening of the famous scherzo and the timpani has a prominent role, in the first few bars, you'll hear the timpani responding to the woodwinds and later on the timpani actually plays the melody or the rhythms of the melody. So it begins with an introduction and sure enough the first theme comes in played by the second flute, the oboe with an answer from the clarinet. The next time it comes in, the timpani is actually playing that melody, maybe it's only the rhythm of the melody, but it clearly is the timpani playing the melody. This section is then repeated, it's very much a fiori on the kind of dance that Dvorak wrote, where you had a lot of these cross rhythms, so if the movement is going, ♪ Ba da dum pum pum pum pum ♪ he'll have, ♪ Bam bam bam bee bam bam bam bam bam bam ♪ It's something he used in a lot of the symphonies, he used it in the 6th Symphony, he used it in Slavonic Dances, it's something that's very traditional in Dvorak. So after the repeat, we come back and now there's the extension of this first section and he wants to get to yet another theme, the second theme and he does it with a wonderful little bassoon solo, so everything's going along and all of a sudden the bassoon's playing and the bassoon player's in transition, transition and then flute and oboe with a little response from the bassoon plays the second theme. It's extended by the clarinet and played then by the cellos, brings us back to the first theme, so we have the first theme group, now the second theme played by the woodwinds and then we're back to the first theme and as the first theme progresses, he develops it much more than usual and so in fact one could consider this the beginning of a development section of this movement. Scherzos usually, remember are a first section, an A section, then a trio section, a B section and then an A section, he does that to a certain extent, but the A section is much more complicated than one would normally imagine. The transition to the B section that we've arrived at now in fact is very unusual in the sense that there's so much there, there's some new material, you do feel a sense of unrest wondering what's gonna come next and then what comes next is a very folk like melody played by the woodwind instruments with a little accompaniment on the triangle and timpani and of course the strings. This is repeated and then the strings take over, again in a very folk like way, you could call this the second part of that B section theme. The woodwinds take it over, it's repeated and then he brings us back to the first theme and the first tempo. During that transition he writes da capo, to the head, to the beginning and we do the whole thing all over again. After we get through up to the recapitulation, at that point he says to the coda, so we skip the trio and we move to the coda and the coda is the ending material and so what he does is he combines the first theme of the first movement again played by the third and the fourth horn as it was in the first movement and then the second flute and oboe answer that, again the horn plays very strong, it's a soft response from the second flute and oboe, horn strong and so forth and then everyone joins in playing that third theme from the first movement combined with the scherzo and this movement comes to an end.