Posted at 4:15 PM on June 23, 2009
by Ward Jacobson
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.
Very interesting indeed. Actually reminded me of a lovely composition by Twin Cities' own Bradley Joseph, "Dance of Life" which was inspired by Antonin Dvorak's "Rusalka", that he released some years ago. And as a matter of fact, I just received his new release today, "Suites & Sweets", classical pieces on solo piano, and I am emersed in it right now. This guy is probably my most favorite contemporary composers, his sound is extraordinary compared to most.