Dvořák, Busoni & Delacroix: The New World


Leon Botstein conductor
Wynona Wang piano

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. Ferruccio Busoni’s Indian Fantasy 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 Met Fifth Avenue in the 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture collection.


>Read the Concert Program

Discussion, on-screen artworks, and musical excerpts
Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now

20 min

Antonín Dvořák Symphony No. 9, From the New World (movement 2)
13 min

Ferruccio Busoni Indian Fantasy for piano and orchestra
Wynona Wang piano
24 min

Q&A with the audience

Sample the Music

Dvořák Symphony No. 9, From the New World (Mvt. 2)

Ferruccio Busoni Indian Fantasy

Image: Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris). The Natchez (detail), 1823–24 and 1835. Oil on canvas, 35 1/2 x 46 in. (90.2 x 116.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Gifts of George N. and Helen M. Richard and Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. McVeigh and Bequest of Emma A. Sheafer, by exchange, 1989 (1989.328)

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