Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, B178 "From the New World"
Burghauser catalogue number
Date of composition
10 January - 24 May 1893
Premiere - date and place
16 December 1893, New York
New York Philharmonic Society, conductor Anton Seidl
Simrock, 1894, Berlin
1 piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 1 English horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, triangle, cymbals, violins, violas, cellos, double basses
Parts / movements
1. Adagio. Allegro molto
3. Molto vivace
4. Allegro con fuoco
approx. 41 min.
This symphony, Dvorak’s most popular in an international context, was written during the first year of the composer’s tenure in the United States. An ideal set of circumstances had presented themselves by this stage in his career: strong impressions of his new environment, financial independence, a sense of his role as an “ambassador” of Czech music, and his ambitions to ensure that he would not fall short of expectations. All this found Dvorak at the height of his creative energy and contributed to the genesis of a work of exceptional quality. The New World Symphony is the composer’s ninth, and also his last (nine is something of a magical number in the history of music: various world composers completed the same number of symphonies, such as Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner and Mahler). The symphony was to prove the composer’s theory of the possibility of using characteristic elements of African American and Native American music as the foundation for an American national school of composition which, in fact, did not exist during Dvorak’s time in the United States.
The symphony is a product of professional mastery. The unity of form and content is flawless, and the four-movement framework is constructed with unerring architectural proficiency. The exceptional and compelling nature of the work lies in its remarkable lyricism and concise thematic treatment, striking rhythms, purity of expression, elemental temperament and the equilibrium of all these qualities together. A characteristic feature of the composition is the frequent reminiscence of themes from previous movements at crucial points in each subsequent movement, a principle which gives the symphony its homogeneous expression. Dvorak had used this approach many times in the past, but never with such consistency and deliberation.
sources of inspiration
From a purely musical point of view, the symphony’s strongest inspirational source is drawn from Afro-American songs. The composer had come across them during his first few months in New York, on the one hand thanks to the African American singer Harry T. Burleigh, whom he had met on many occasions before embarking upon the symphony, and probably via other sources as well. Dvorak saw the prospect of establishing an American national school of music, above all, in lessons learned from European examples where, during the 19th century, folk music had often provided sources of inspiration, even in the case of the most serious compositions. Dvorak saw the roots of American folk music which, according to this principle, was to be understood as the foundation of works by local composers, chiefly in Negro spirituals that had emerged on American soil. He derived strong inspiration from the characteristic singularities of these songs – in particular, their use of pentatonic scales and syncopated rhythms. Dvorak often referred to these aspects in his interviews for the American press: “In the Negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music.” (New York Herald, 21 May 1893).
Dvorak’s theory whipped up a furore in both American and European newspapers and journals, and a series of eminent authorities on music expressed their own opinions (Anton Bruckner, Hans Richter, Arthur Rubinstein, Joseph Joachim and Anton Seidl, among others). A number of them wholly rejected the idea, perhaps also because Dvorak had been misrepresented: it was not his intention simply to take existing melodies and forge them into new works, as was sometimes suggested. According to the recollections of Josef Kovarik, these reactions didn’t surprise Dvorak in the least: “Faced with all these articles the Maestro remained impassive and unruffled, and he did not make any attempt to modify his statement on American music. The only thing he said was: “So these gentlemen think it is impossible? Well, we’ll see about that!”
For over a hundred years experts have argued whether or not Dvorak used specific melodies from Negro songs in his symphony. He expressed himself clearly on this issue at the time, both in public and in his private correspondence. In an interview for the New York Herald, he stressed the following: “It is merely the spirit of Negro and Indian melodies which I have tried to reproduce in my new symphony. I have not actually used any of the melodies”. In February 1900 Dvorak wrote a letter to Oskar Nedbal, who was preparing to conduct the symphony in Berlin: “I am sending you Kretschmar’s analysis of the symphony, but leave out that nonsense about my using Indian and American motifs – it is a lie! It was my intention only to write in the spirit of these national American melodies!” Nevertheless, most musicologists agree that the final theme of the first movement is consciously, or unconsciously, inspired by the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. Its melodic outline and rhythmical structure present so many similarities that this cannot be regarded as a mere coincidence.
The New World Symphony is also frequently said to have been inspired by original Native American music, although it is not entirely clear how Dvorak would have become acquainted with it before starting his composition. The whole symphony was written in New York between 10 January and 24 May 1893, while it was not until June of that year that the composer ventured inland. Even so, Dvorak may have come across Native American music before this time. He essentially had two opportunities to do so: Thirteen years before the composer’s departure for America, at the beginning of August 1879, Prague hosted a performance by a group of Iroquois Indians who, over a ten-day period, demonstrated their tribal dances and songs, archery skills and acrobatics on horseback. It must have been a spell-binding spectacle for the inhabitants of Prague at that time, as borne out by the many reports appearing in the period press. It is not known whether the composer attended any of these demonstrations, but he may have seen notated examples of the music they performed in an article published by Dvorak’s friend Vaclav Juda Novotny in Dalibor magazine. Dvorak’s statement in an interview for the New York Herald (15 December 1893) would support this theory: “I carefully studied a certain number of Indian melodies which a friend gave me, and was truly intrigued by their characteristic traits – imbued with their spirit, in fact.” Dvorak had another opportunity in New York itself, when he went to see a “Wild West Show” performed by the legendary Buffalo Bill. The productions, freely inspired by visions of the conquest of the Wild West, also involved the participation of the Oglala Sioux tribe of Native Americans. According to musicologist Michael Beckerman, this opportunity would have presented itself in the spring of 1893 (no further details given), namely, during the period the symphony was written, but only after the completion of the sketches for the first three movements.
A question also hovers above potential inspiration from the epic poem The Song of Hiawatha by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Dvorak would have been familiar with the work back in Prague during the 1870s, through a translation by Josef Vaclav Sladek, and during his stay in the United States he would also have had the English original at his disposal. This epic poem draws on stories of the legendary Indian chief Hiawatha, incorporating compelling portrayals of the natural beauty of the wild American landscape.
According to certain scholars, the poem provided key inspiration for Dvorak particularly with regard to both central movements of the symphony. This conjecture is supported, among others, by Dvorak apparently stating that the second movement was written under the impression of the woodland burial scene from Longfellow’s Hiawatha. Unfortunately, the authenticity of this statement cannot be verified, since the only mention of it comes to us second-hand: in her study Antonin Dvorak in America, published in 1919, Katerina Emingerova discusses it with reference to an unspecified article in the American press. As indicated by Michael Beckerman, who has examined this matter in detail, no article of any relevance contains any information about it. According to Beckerman, the symphony’s second movement is inspired by two scenes from Hiawatha: the main theme, the celebrated Largo, has its prefiguration in the journey of Hiawatha and his wife Minnehaha across the vast, unspoiled American plains. The central part of the movement is said to be a reflection of the mood in the scene of Minnehaha’s woodland burial. The theory that the inspiration for the Largo lies outside musical contexts is also substantiated by the composer’s notes written into the sketches for this movement: “Legend” and “The Legend Begins”. The third movement of the symphony is, according to Beckerman, inspired by a wedding scene, specifically the wild dance of the magician Pau-Puk-Keewis. The musicologist here refers to the composer’s statement in the New York Herald, according to which “the Scherzo of my new symphony was suggested by the scene of the feast where the Indians dance”, and points to the corresponding sense of urgency in the relevant passage of the text and in the main part of the symphony’s third movement.
The expression of the symphony overall is principally a reflection of the composer’s wonder at his new environment and the new cultural impulses that surrounded him which, via musical stylisation, his creative imagination transformed into an exceptional piece of symphonic writing. In terms of compositional technique, however, we will not find any fundamental new influences. Dvorak travelled to the United States in his 51st year as a composer with his own unique, crystallised compositional style and an established canon of expressional means, and as a master in all aspects of the composition process. Local influences could thus at most broaden his expressive palette. Hence, although Dvorak used certain principles in the symphony on which African American and Native American music is based, there was no possibility that his work would give rise to an “American national symphony”, since – as one critic aptly remarked – “Dvorak can no more divest himself of his nationality than the leopard can change its spots”. In the New World Symphony “Negro” and “Indian” motifs are interwoven with “Czech” (or, simply, Dvorakian) motifs, in a remarkable unity of expression, creating a uniform, balanced and extremely effective work.
characteristic traits of the composition
- pentatonic scale (five-note scale which does not contain the fourth and seventh note of a traditional European major scale)
- syncopated rhythms (a shift of accent that occurs when a normally weak beat is stressed)
- dotted rhythms
- Aeolian minor mode with minor seventh
- principle of reminiscence
formal structure and content
While, in terms of the choice of thematic material and the overall atmosphere of the work, Dvorak really was entering a “new world”, in its structural framework the symphony largely adheres to classical schemes derived from the deeply entrenched traditions of European music. The first movement (Allegro molto) is written in sonata form and begins with an introduction in slow tempo (Adagio). Apart from the fact that the introduction anticipates the thematic material of the first movement, specifically its main subject, it also establishes an idea right at the start which might be described as a kind of leitmotif of Dvorak’s American period:
Its characteristic melodic outline later appears once again in the theme of the third movement of String Quintet in E flat major and in the composer’s piano Humoresque No. 1. According to Dvorak’s instructions, the entire introduction should be “drawn out, where possible”, which is not always observed in practice. The exposition of the first movement is structured around three supporting thematic ideas. The main theme is distinguished for the contrast between its announcing and responsive phrases:
The fanfare-like announcing phrase is a defining factor for the symphony as it progresses, later appearing at key points in all the following movements. The second subject of the first movement asserts the “American-Czech” character of the symphony: in its basic minor key (with a narrow melodic range, lowered seventh and monotone accompaniment), there truly is something “Indian” about it:
In a subsequent development of the theme, however, its character is completely transformed (change in key temperament, broader melodic range, parallel thirds) and it suddenly sounds almost like a Czech polka:
The introduction of the closing theme is rhythmically equivalent to the main theme, but otherwise it is of a quite different, lyrical character. It is often highlighted for its close similarity with the melody of the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. Dvorak also treats this theme in the symphony’s subsequent movements:
The development section principally addresses the main theme and the announcing phrase of the final theme. Its dramatic character is echoed in the harmonic progression A major – A minor – F major – F sharp minor – E flat minor – E minor – F minor. The recapitulation is almost an exact repetition of the exposition, the only difference being that the secondary and closing themes are transposed up a semitone. The impressive coda involving full timpani reaches its climax with the main subject rising up in the brass above the orchestral tutti.
The second movement (Largo) begins with a remarkable harmonic succession of chords in the wind instruments (E major – B flat major (sixth chord) – E major – D flat major – B double-flat major – G flat minor – D flat major). The genesis of the Largo’s famous introductory bars was by no means straightforward. A whole series of variants have survived in Dvorak’s sketchbooks which preceded the definitive sequence. In one of them the harmonic progression begins in C major and returns to the same key. In the final version, however, the opening chord of E major emphasises continuity with the close of the previous movement, which ends in E minor. According to an interpretation by Michael Beckerman, the introductory chords represent a kind of musical rendition of the formula “Once upon a time...”. Antonin Sychra points out the connection between this chordal progression and similarly conceived passages in other works by Dvorak: the catharsis in the symphonic poem The Wild Dove, the chords accompanying the Water Sprite’s aria in Rusalka when he cries “Oh poor, pale Rusalka, sent by a spell into the dazzling world! Alas!”, and the harmonic sequences at several points in Biblical Songs (e.g. in song No. 3 with the words “Attend and hear me; For I lament in my suffering and grief”). The Largo’s main theme is a broad, sublimely simple melody delivered by the cor anglais, set against a backdrop of sordini strings:
The theme was originally prescribed for the clarinet, but the composer later altered the instrumentation, since the sound of the cor anglais was said to have reminded him of the quality of the voice of Harry T. Burleigh, whose performances gave Dvorak the opportunity to hear Negro spirituals (see above). In addition, the theme itself was somewhat different, more “European” than the final version. In contrast to the sketches, the score incorporates this minor but, in overall effect, important change, intensifying the pentatonic character of the melody. The middle section of the movement brings a passage in C sharp minor, whose nostalgic mood might suggest an image of the vast and desolate American prairies (which, naturally, Dvorak could not have known at the time of writing), the stylisation of an Indian lament, and also a reflection of homesickness:
The image of inconsolability is further reinforced when the musical current leads into a kind of funeral march above regular pizzicato steps in the basses:
There then follows a quasi-scherzo segment in C sharp major, whose dynamic climax incorporates several thematic ideas: the Largo theme, the main theme of the first movement, and the closing theme of the first movement. The movement concludes with the soft return of the main theme, with the sequence of introductory chords making their reappearance at the very end.
The third movement (Molto vivace) is written in A-B-A form. In Dvorak’s words, this part of the symphony is associated with “the feast where the Indians dance”, which he had seen described in Longfellow’s Hiawatha. The entire character of part A and its increasing sense of urgency as the piece progresses seem truly to echo the passage of the poem which depicts the wild dance of the magician Pau-Puk-Keewis from the chapter Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast:
To the sound of flutes and singing,
To the sound of drums and voices,
Rose the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis,
And began his mystic dances.
First he danced a solemn measure,
Very slow in step and gesture,
In and out among the pine-trees,
Through the shadows and the sunshine,
Treading softly like a panther.
Then more swiftly and still swifter,
Whirling, spinning round in circles,
Leaping o'er the guests assembled,
Eddying round and round the wigwam,
Till the leaves went whirling with him,
Till the dust and wind together
Swept in eddies round about him.
Then along the sandy margin
Of the lake, the Big-Sea-Water,
On he sped with frenzied gestures,
Stamped upon the sand, and tossed it
Wildly in the air around him;
Till the wind became a whirlwind,
Till the sand was blown and sifted
Like great snowdrifts o'er the landscape,
Heaping all the shores with Sand Dunes,
Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo!
The stirring rhythms in part A are interrupted only in its middle section which, in its idyllic atmosphere, is in such contrast that one might refer to it as a little trio of sorts:
The actual trio, part B, is also far removed from the wild rhythms of the preceding part. And this is not all: the “American” feel to the music suddenly seems to fade away. Otakar Sourek even speaks of a “dance melody akin to a Czech folk piece which, in its middle section, is buoyed up with dainty hops and delicate trills, as if Dvorak’s beloved pigeons at Vysoka set about their own concert of cooing and murmuring”:
After a repetition of part A comes the coda which, in its solemn expression, defies the overall tone of the movement and thus represents a certain conceptual transition towards the final movement. The dynamic culmination of the coda then suddenly gives voice to yet another reminiscence: the closing theme of the first movement.
The fourth movement (Allegro con fuoco) is in its essential features written in sonata form, thus its ground plan gives a clear indication of the exposition, development and recapitulation. The principle of reminiscence, which culminates in this movement, however, introduces innovative elements of form into the structure of the movement: in particular, this concerns explicit use of themes from the previous movements. If the very principle of accumulating reminiscences in the final movement points to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the manner of its application cannot be described as Beethovenesque. In the Viennese classic’s last symphony, the beginning of the fourth movement brings some sort of recapitulation of the thematic material of the previous movements, after which there is no further instance of it. Conversely, Dvorak exposes the thematic substance of the previous movements, but beginning with the development section. The main theme of the fourth movement, even for Dvorak, is unusually eloquent and productive, moreover, it is immediately exposed for the first time in an impressive brass instrumentation, thereby prefiguring the mood of the whole movement:
Its striking impact is further reinforced by an ensuing triplet variant with a keenly accented rhythmical accompaniment:
The contrasting second subject gradually finds its voice in a broad, lyrical cantilena:
The final energetic theme again reinforces the initial impression of the tone of the whole movement:
The development section is proof of Dvorak’s seemingly inexhaustible fount of imagination in the cultivation of thematic material and in his ability to keep on introducing new compositional approaches. In one passage, for example, he interweaves the main themes from the second, third and fourth movements:
The recapitulation is abbreviated in comparison with the exposition, so that the majestic coda stands out even more as it takes in all the key ideas of the symphony, including the opening chords of the Largo in monumental form.
The premiere of Dvorak’s new symphony was awaited with unusual fervour, especially after the uproar generated six months earlier by the composer’s public statements highlighting African American and Native American music as the foundation for an American national school of music. New York’s press had already printed a number of articles about the new work in advance, even presenting notated examples of some of the themes. In accordance with local convention, the premiere was preceded by a public full rehearsal held in the afternoon of 15 December 1893. Despite the heavy rain on that day, from noon onwards a long queue of those eager to get tickets formed all the way down Carnegie Hall. The full rehearsal sold out completely; Dvorak and his family were not in attendance, since social etiquette required that he should not appear until the premiere. He apparently gave his own ticket to someone who greatly wished to hear his new work. The New York Herald published a lengthy report from the full rehearsal, in which a number of leading musicians voiced their opinion on the symphony. Conductor Anton Seidl, who had rehearsed the work with the New York Philharmonic Society, declared that the symphony should “incite the younger American musicians to work in the idiom laid down so successfully by Dr. Dvorak and which points in the direction of a truly national school of musical composition.” Composer Victor Herbert, on being asked whether the symphony would influence the future of music in the country, answered: “Yes, if the composers are Dr. Dvorak.”
The premiere itself, which was held the following day, on 16 December 1893, proved to be the highlight of the concert season and, for Dvorak, represented the greatest triumph of his musical career. The reception the symphony was given is best described by the composer himself in a letter sent to the publisher Simrock: “My dear friend Simrock! The success of the symphony on 15 and 16 December was spectacular; the papers are saying that no composer has ever achieved a triumph such as this. I sat in a box, the auditorium hosted New York’s finest, and people applauded for so long that I had to express my appreciation from my box like a king (don’t laugh!). You know that I prefer to avoid ovations such as this, but I had to do it and make an appearance!”. We have a number of detailed accounts of the premiere from extensive newspaper articles published the next day in leading New York dailies (see below). The composer’s son Otakar, who was also present at the premiere, described the atmosphere of the evening in his memoirs: “There was such demand for tickets for the gala premiere of the New World Symphony that, in order to fully satisfy the potential audience, Carnegie Hall, huge as it is, still had to increase the number of seats severalfold. All the newspapers competed with one another in their commentaries, reflecting on whether father’s symphony would determine the further development of American music and, in doing so, they succeeded in enveloping the work in an aura of exclusivity, even before the premiere had taken place. Its success was so immense that it was beyond ordinary imagining, and it is surely to the credit of the American public that they are able to appreciate the music of a living composer. Even after the first movement the audience unexpectedly burst into lengthy applause. After the breathtaking Largo of the second movement, they would not let the concert proceed until father had appeared on the podium to receive an ovation from the delighted audience in the middle of the work. Once the symphony had ended, the people were simply ecstatic. Father probably had to step up onto the podium with conductor Anton Seidl twenty times to take his bow before a euphoric audience. He was very happy.”
The success of the symphony was immediate and lasting. The work soon became an established part of the repertoire of symphony orchestras and conductors in Europe, America and Australia. The first performance of the symphony in Europe was held in London on 21 June 1894; it was performed to Czech audiences for the first time in Karlovy Vary on 20 July 1894, and the Prague premiere was held on 13 October 1894, conducted by the composer at the National Theatre.
The main theme of the Largo became so popular that it gave rise to a whole series of both instrumental and vocal arrangements. The best known is “Goin’ Home”, created in 1922 by Dvorak’s erstwhile American student, William Arms Fisher (1861-1948), who commented on his vocal arrangement in the following words: “As a musician, I am inclined to look with suspicion on any arrangement based on the work of the great composers. One day, in the summer of 1922, when somebody put in front of me the Largo in a piano arrangement, I played it only for old times’ sake. However, as I played, I heard in my mind words coming unbidden: ‘Goin' home - I'm goin' home.’ I wrote them down and took my idea home. Obeying my inner impulse, I elaborated it accordingly.”
William Arms Fisher: “Goin‘ Home”
Goin' home, goin' home, I'm a goin' home;
Quiet-like, some still day, I'm jes' goin' home.
It's not far, jes' close by,
Through an open door;
Work all done, care laid by,
Goin' to fear no more.
Mother's there 'spectin' me,
Father's waitin' too;
Lots o' folk gather'd there,
All the friends I knew,
All the friends I knew.
Home, I'm goin' home! Nothin lost, all's gain,
No more fret nor pain,
No more stumblin' on the way,
No more longin' for the day,
Goin' to roam no more!
Mornin' star lights the way,
Res'less dream all done,
Shadows gone, break o' day,
Real life jes' begun.
There's no break, there's no end,
Jes' a livin' on;
Wide awake, with a smile
Goin' on and on.
period press reviews
New York Herald, 16 December 1893:
“Dr. Antonin Dvorak, the famous Bohemian composer and director of the National Conservatory of Music, dowered American art with a great work yesterday, when his new symphony in E minor, ‘From the New World,’ was played at the second Philharmonic rehearsal in Carnegie Music Hall. The day was an important one in the musical history of America. It witnessed the first public performance of a noble composition. It saw a large audience of usually tranquil Americans enthusiastic to the point of frenzy over a musical work and applauding like the most excitable ‘Italianissimi’ in the world. The work was one of heroic proportions. And it was one cast in the art form which such poet-musicians as Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms and many another ‘glorious one of the earth’ has enriched with the most precious outwellings of his musical imagination. And this new symphony by Dr. Antonin Dvorak is worthy to rank with the best creations of those musicians whom I have just mentioned. [...]”
New York Times, 17 December 1893:
article about the premiere
“In the first place, Dr. Dvorak has shown his thorough mastership of symphonic writing by avoiding the pitfall which has invariably entrapped the American composer. He has not made any use whatever – except in one instance – of extant melodies. What he has done is to saturate himself with the spirit of negro music and then to invent his own themes. He has made himself completely the master of the fundamental melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic peculiarities of negro tunes. He has had the musical skill to preceive he essence of these melodies. [...] To sum up, the fundemental melodies of the symphony are beauitful, as well as full of character; the development is clear and logical, and the symphony, as a whole, is symmetrical, powerful, and intensely interesting. We are inclined to reard it as the best of Dr. Dvorak’s works in this form, which is equivalent to saying that it is a great symphony and must take its place among the finest works in this form produced since the death of Beethoven. [...] We Americans should thank and honor the Bohemian master who has shown us how to build our national school of music.”
excerpts from Dvorak’s correspondence
to his friend, Emil Kozanek (New York, 12. 4. 1893):
“...I don’t have so much to occupy me at the Conservatory at the moment, so I have time for my work and now I am just finishing up my new symphony in E minor. It pleases me very much and will differ considerably from my early compositions. The influence of America can readily be felt by anyone with a good ‘nose’...”
to the secretary of London’s Philharmonic Society, Francesco Berger (Vysoka, 12. 6. 1894):
“My dearest friend Fr. Berger, I am sending to you the extract of Mr. H. Krehbiel analysis of my Symphony ‘From the New World’ E minor which was given for the first time under the direction of Anton Seidl at the Philharmonic concert of New York 15 and 16th of December 1893. I called this symphony ‘From the New World’ because it was the very first work I wrote in America. As to my opinion I think that the influence of this country (it means the folk songs as are Negro, Indian, Irish etc.) is to be seen, and that this and all other works (written in America) differ very much from my other works as well as in couleur as in character, but I will not criticize myself. I hope that the English people will understand me well, as they did before, and I only regret not being able to be present at the first performance of my work.”
excerpt from the memoirs of Dvorak’s American “assistant” Josef Kovarik
“[...] On the tenth of January the Maestro began the sketch of his new masterpiece, which is called Symphony in E minor [...] At the end of the month of March the Maestro was of the conviction that, by the 15th of May, when he intended to leave for Bohemia for the summer, it would have been simply impossible to complete the symphony. At this time he began discussing with his wife what they should do and how they should go about it – whether to prolong their journey to Bohemia for a certain time until he was able to complete the work without interruption, which was of great consequence to him; or whether to call his children to America. After lengthy deliberation, he decided to call his children to him and it was also decided that they would spend the summer in Spillville. Now, when the Maestro was safe in the knowledge that he would finish the work uninterrupted, he was able to continue in a much calmer frame of mind [...]”
“[...] In the meantime the Maestro’s children prepared for their trip to America. On Tuesday 23 May they cast off from Bremen on the ship named Havre and, by strange coincidence, on Wednesday 24 May, the same day that the Maestro completed his masterpiece, they had reached Southampton in England. Thus, at the end of the score, next to a previous note, “9 o’clock in the morning”, he added another note: “The children arrived at Southampton, 1.33 aft. telegram arrived [...]” (see fig.)
“[...] In the afternoon of the first day (after arriving in Spillville) the Maestro brought me the score of the symphony, asking that I make a copy during the holidays. It was a “classic” statement from the Maestro, when he handed me the score: “There, my little Indian chief, the symphony has 128 pages, so if you copy out four pages a day, you’ll be done within a month and the holidays will pass really quickly!” The considerate Maestro, anxious that I wouldn’t know how to occupy myself for all that time, had taken it upon himself to give me employment. I consented, but I also added: “But only four pages per day, Maestro! [...] I had to give him a daily “report” of my progress with the copying. It was always the same: “four pages”. But, one evening, when perhaps the Maestro wasn’t in the rosiest of moods, or perhaps I had fleeced him that evening (at cards) – and the Maestro was certainly a sore loser – when I announced the usual “four pages”, he snapped angrily: “Listen here, Indian, you are such a lazy fellow! Only four pages, and quite empty ones at that!” I decided the next day to hasten the process considerably. I wrote diligently and I managed to copy out a full sixteen pages. I already knew things would be bad, and they were. When I announced “sixteen pages” to him, the Maestro flew into a rage: “What? Sixteen pages? That’s an impossibility! That’s dreadful work, I should know! Are you trying to dig yourself an early grave? Why do you do it? This is your holiday, man!”
“ [...] In a coffee-house one day, conductor Anton Seidl began by saying that he’d heard the Maestro had a new symphony, so he asked him if he would permit him to present the work at one of the New York Philharmonic’s forthcoming concerts. The Maestro considered the possibility but, upon leaving, he promised Seidl that he would give him the symphony to perform. This was in the middle of November 1893. The very next day Seidl informed the Maestro that the symphony would be performed at a concert around the 15th of December, and requested that he send the score as soon as possible. That same evening, just before I set off with the score, the Maestro added to the title page the words “From the New World”! Previously he had only written “Symphony in E minor”...