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Classical Notes: June 23, 2009 Archive

Inspiration Close to Home

Posted at 4:15 PM on June 23, 2009 by Ward Jacobson (1 Comments)

One of the real joys of being a classical host is the little discoveries you make along the way. I've biked countless times to Minnehaha Falls, but until last week I didn't realize it played a significant role in some music by Antonin Dvorak.

Here's what I discovered:

116 years ago, Antonin Dvorak visited Minneapolis, and he was inspired by Minnehaha Falls and a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which immortalized the story of Hiawatha and Minnehaha. At the time, Dvorak was contemplating an opera based on that very subject, so he used the cuff of his shirt to sketch a melody which would become the theme for the second movement of his Sonatina in G.

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