Dvořák, MacDowell, and Delacroix: The New World
APRIL 10, 2022
Sunday at 2 PM
Part of TŌN’s Sight & Sound series
In the hit series Sight & Sound, conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts. A discussion is accompanied by on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now, followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.
From their earliest encounters in the New World, Europeans were mesmerized by the indigenous peoples of North America. In the 1820s and 30s, French painter Eugène Delacroix worked on a canvas depicting a Natchez family as they fled the massacre of their tribe up the Mississippi River. The accelerating stream of European migration during the 19th century spelled disaster for Native Americans. Artists and composers on both sides of the Atlantic responded by foregrounding the unique character of Native American culture. Edward MacDowell’s Indian Suite incorporates indigenous melodies and rhythms. Antonín Dvořák, who came to America in the 1890s and taught composition in New York, believed Native American and African American culture were the defining, distinctive, and inspiring sources for the future of American music. His famous New World Symphony, particularly the second movement, was inspired by Longfellow’s poem on Hiawatha.
Eugène Delacroix’s The Natchez is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture collection.