Today's Google doodle honors Dvořák and New World Symphony anniversary

On Sept. 8, 1893, Czech composer Antonín Dvořák debuted his most iconic piece at Carnegie Hall to 'thunderous applause.' It was also his birthday. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.09.2023 11:42:00 (updated on 08.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Google's homepage pays tribute to two important anniversaries associated with Antonín Dvořák today. Sept. 8 marks 182 years since the birth of the renowned Czech composer. It also marks 130 years since the premiere of Dvořák's iconic New World Symphony was performed at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1893.

Created by American "Doodler" Kevin Laughlin, who in the past has also reimagined the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square for the Google homepage, the Doodle features a portrait of Dvořák and a panorama of New York City shaped as a sound wave.

Dvořák's symphony had its first performance at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1893. Historians note that at the premiere in Carnegie Hall, "the end of every movement was met with thunderous clapping and Dvořák felt obliged to stand up and bow." It quickly gained worldwide acclaim for its rich melody and incorporation of American folk melodies from Native American music and African-American spirituals.

The New World Symphony is not only acclaimed for its melodic beauty. It was the first of several pieces the Apollo 11 crew played on the moon during the historic 1969 lunar landing. Astronaut Neil Armstrong had already grown fond of the piece while playing it in the student orchestra, which is why he took a tape recording of it on board the mission to the moon.

Today the Antonín Dvořák archive is managed by the National Museum in its Czech Museum of Music. The collection contains a total of 3,500 collection items, including the original manuscript of Dvořák's 9th New World Symphony and other rarities.

"The global significance of Antonín Dvořák and his work is also evidenced by the fact that the Antonín Dvořák Archive was inscribed this year in the prestigious International Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Program. I am proud that the National Museum has the opportunity to care for such an important part of the world's cultural heritage," said Michal Lukeš, Director General of the National Museum.

Doodle artist Laughlin says the melody of the New World has entered into the cultural consciousness in a similar way to Debussy's Clair de Lune or Shostakovich's Waltz No. 2. He said that his drawing plays on the way in which Dvořák was said to have been inspired by the "wide open spaces" of America.

"I am fascinated by how the American landscape, and especially the city of New York, has influenced this symphony. That is why I rendered the Doodle as a combination of a portrait of a classical composer with a 19th century New York City skyline processed into a sound wave. I also drew inspiration from album covers of the New World, on which this metropolis appears very often," said Laughlin.

The commemorative Doodle is a fitting tribute to Dvořák's lasting legacy and the global significance of the New World Symphony. It recognizes the piece's history-making role from Carnegie Hall to the surface of the moon while honoring one of

the most celebrated Czech composers.

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