Svatební Košile (The Spectre's Bride)


Friday, 27th April 2012
7 pm

  1. 27.04.2012
  2. 7:00 p.m.


In England, Antonín Dvořák’s oratorios and choral works had aroused great interest, and the composer, a resident of Prague who had managed to carve out a perfectly respectable, if not brilliant, career in the imperial and royal monarchy received several attractive offers from the British Isles. An invitation from the Philharmonic Society was followed by a letter from the well-known London music publishers Novello asking whether he would be interested in writing a secular choral work the performance of which should last about one hour. “We believe that it should be possible to us personally to place the work in one of the major festivals here in England in the year 1885 and to procure you an invitation to conduct said work here.”

The prospect of international recognition inspired Dvořák, and in the ensuing years he was more productive as a composer than ever before. He decided to set the ballad The Spectre’s Bride by the Czech national poet Karel Jaromír Erben to music. In the romantic and dramatic cantata, Dvořák portrays the suffering, humility and redemption of a girl who waits in vain for her bridegroom who has fallen in the war. In the end she lets herself be carried away into calling the ghost of her dead lover. Dvořák conducted the performance in Birmingham himself at which a 500-strong choir allegedly took part. Euphoric at its success, Dvořák described Svatební Košile as the work “that surpasses all my previous successes.”