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Symphony No. 7 : Work information

Antonín (Leopold) Dvorák ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra, Antonin Dvo?ák

This work

Work name
Symphony No. 7
Work number
Op. 70
D minor
1885-00-00 02:00:00

This recording

LSO Live
Recording date

The Composers

Antonín (Leopold) Dvorák

Born near Prague, Dvorák studied the violin with his local school master. Then, between 1857 and 1859, he attended the Prague Organ School. He was influenced by the Czech composer Smetana who, from 1866, directed the Opera Orchestra in which Dvorák played the viola. From about 1873, he devoted most of his life to composition. He won the Austrian State Stipendium three times, in 1874, 1876 and 1877. This got the attention of the composer Johannes Brahms , who in 1878 arranged for the publisher Simrock to publish some of Dvorák’s works. Under this arrangement, Dvorák’s music began to be performed throughout Europe. Some of these early works include the Slavonic Dances, the Symphony No. 6 and the Stabat Mater. He received several commissions, particularly in England, where he was very popular and much admired. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by Cambridge University.

In 1891 Dvorák became a Professor of Composition at the Prague Conservatoire, and before leaving for the USA he toured Bohemia playing the new Dumky Trio. From 1892 until 1895 he was the Director of the new National Conservatory in New York, teaching composition. During this period of his life, his compositions show his deep interest in American folk music. These include the famous Symphony No. 9 ('From the New World'), the String Quartet in F, the String Quintet in E flat and the Cello Concerto.

Homesickness took him back to Prague, where he began to write symphonic poems. He received many honours in his own country and resisted invitations by Brahms to move to Vienna where he was only grudgingly accepted. His attempts at dramatic music were eventually rewarded with the success of the opera Rusalka (1901). He died in 1904, shortly after the first performances of his last opera, Armida. The late 19th century brought an increasing awareness of national identity to various ethnic groups in Europe and Dvorák’s musical career was influenced by the spirit of Bohemian nationalism.

Related Composers: Smetana, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Wagner

Track listing

  • Allegro maestoso 11:05 min
  • Poco adagio 11:19 min
  • Scherzo: Vivace - Poco meno mosso 7:39 min
  • Finale: Allegro 9:53 min


The weighty and serious Symphony No. 7 is regarded by many as Dvorak's greatest symphonic achievement. Commissioned by the Philharmonic Society of London, composition began in 1884 and was completed in March of 1885, with the first performance taking place to great acclaim on 22 April 1885 in St. James's Hall.

A testimony perhaps to the influence of BrahmsDvorak's Symphony, which he hoped would be 'a work which would shake the world', displays a nobility and air of tragedy found virtually nowhere else in his orchestral output. Concisely constructed in the best traditions, the epic quality and emotional weight of this symphony have found many admirers.

Particularly popular is the wonderful furiant-like Scherzo, and its beguiling trio. It's followed by a monumental and heroic finale that provides a fitting conclusion to this great symphony.