posted Sep 9, 2020, 9:05 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Sep 9, 2020, 9:05 AM ]


All students enrolled in Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band are invited to pick up some music to practice at Athens Drive H.S. on the dates/times noted above.

This event will be organized as a “drive through” where you drive into the entrance to our school by the band room (the entrance near our semi-trailer and the entrance that goes up a small hill and you see the “Home of the Athens Drive Band” sign on the building).  As you pull around the corner, I will be there with tables set up with your music packets.  I will hand you your music right through your car window!  Just like a fast food joint!  Sorry, I don’t do special orders - this ain’t “Burger King!”  

If students need instruments or accessories, you will need to park, and I will help you as much as possible while you remain outside.  

This event will be conducted as safely as possible as I will be wearing a mask and will do a health screening prior to coming to Athens.  Any student/parent who emerges from a vehicle needs to wear a mask as well.  

Although I really would like to “hang out” with all of you and catch-up, this is not the purpose of this event…  I would ask you kindly to keep your time on campus as brief as possible while exercising all the social distancing mandates.  

It is my hope that you will find this music both enjoyable and challenging, and that it will provide you a bit of motivation to get your instrument out and toot away!  

Thank you to Emma Edwards and Zed Lanier for helping me with the copying and organization of this music!  I’m looking forward to seeing many of you next week!


An Invitation for Free Tutoring from John Antonelli

posted Aug 21, 2020, 5:01 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Aug 21, 2020, 5:01 AM ]

Dear Athens Drive Band students and parents,
John Antonelli, our percussion instructor for 20 years, has offered to tutor ANY student who would like to learn more about "music theory" or any other music fundamental such as rhythm help.  This is a FREE service that John is providing to any Athens Drive Band member!  Simply email John at and he will set up a time to meet virtually.

John holds a Masters Degree in Percussion Performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts and is currently among one of the most sought-after percussion clinicians and adjudicators in our state!


Transcript of Today's Doc Talk/Lesson Posted on Google Classroom

posted Aug 17, 2020, 10:13 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Aug 17, 2020, 10:13 AM ]

Dear Athens Drive Band students and parents,
Transcripts of daily lessons are posted in the "Class Drive Folder" which can be accessed when you go into your google drive band class and click "classwork."  Please go into this area to make sure that you can access this material as it can be very helpful to you because it contains all the links that I use to show our videos/performances.  We'll go over this more tomorrow!

It was GREAT to see so many of you today--it just makes me miss you more!  
It is NOT band...but we are starting to move in that direction!
Take care!


Class Information - Starting August 17th

posted Aug 16, 2020, 8:31 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Aug 16, 2020, 8:45 AM ]

Tomorrow we begin the 2020-21 school year in a historic fashion - remotely.  It has been determined that I must meet live with my 3 concert groups through at least Oct. 22 (end of the first quarter).  I'm going to do this through "google classroom."  This is a very new experience for me; however, I believe I've learned just enough to get started. 

The schedule for this week (and only this week) is as follows:
Symphonic Band 8:45-9:35
Wind Ensemble 9:45-10:35
Concert Band 10:45-11:35

The google meet codes for each of these classes are as follows:

All of the students will need to meet with me every day as I am required to record attendance.  The school is very strict with this as funding for our school is entirely dependent on our attendance.

The schedule for the remainder of the quarter (beginning 8/24) is as follows:
Symphonic Band 9:45-10:45
Wind Ensemble 10:55-11:55
Concert Band 1:00-2:00

Same google meet codes.

The transcript of the lessons for each day will be posted on our band’s website -
Although this way of examining the literature and musical content discussed cannot entirely substitute for the live-interaction that google classroom offers, it will give you a general idea of the content that is being addressed.  I am passionately committed to making certain that our time together is meaningful.  This is NOT a substitute for the magical experience of creating music every day; however, one can grow as a musician through listening and learning about music as well…and that is the approach that I am going to continue to take.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.  I will try to answer them as best I can!

Letter from Doc 7/23/2020

posted Jul 23, 2020, 1:44 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Jul 23, 2020, 1:44 PM ]

July 23, 2020

Dear Athens Drive student and parent,

I just wanted to touch base with everyone with regards to where we are with our Marching Band AND our class bands:  Wind Ensemble/Symphonic Band/Concert Band.

Marching Band
The very latest information that we have received mandates that we cannot begin any type of marching band activity until after Sept. 1st.  IF we are able to begin our marching band after this date, I realize that many questions would need to be answered including the following:

1) Can Virtual Academy students participate?  If so, would our Virtual Academy students want to and/or be allowed to participate?

2) For Blended Academy students, can students who are not in school come to after-school marching rehearsals?

3) What type of performances would we be working towards:  Competitions? Athletic Activities?  Christmas Parades?

I realize that it is tempting to cancel our entire fall season.  Out of respect for our students, staff, and community, I do not want to exercise this option.  If this pandemic has taught us anything, it may be patience.  Perhaps the only performance opportunity that we be able to engage in will be parades; perhaps we will invite our students to do some type of marching activity in the spring.  As this pandemic is unprecedented, so too may be the way our activities are scheduled.  Let’s keep an open mind and a positive attitude!

Class Bands
Although we are beginning the semester with on-line instruction only, it is my understanding that we will begin “blended-learning” ASAP.  Once we begin to work with students in person, we will distribute MUSIC and engage in performance-related activities!  I am still not told whether we will be able to allow students to play their instruments.  If they are not permitted to do so in class, we can still distribute music and engage in the study of music.  I am even considering teaching a unit on guitar and piano!  I will continue the “Doc-Talk/Lesson” format for on-line instruction; the feedback that I received was very positive and I’ve got a TON of information that can be presented to increase our students’ knowledge and enjoyment of music.

Stay strong and positive!  Work your mind, body and spirit every day!  I am always here for you!


No Marching Band Rehearsal in July

posted Jul 15, 2020, 4:25 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Jul 15, 2020, 4:25 AM ]

July 13, 2020

Dear Marching Band student and parent,

Last Friday, July 10, WCPSS posted the following announcement:

Athletics, Marching Band and Other Co-Curricular Activities Suspended Indefinitely
A subcommittee for Athletics & Co-Curricular/Band Activities, which consists of Principals, Athletic Directors, Athletic Trainers, Band Directors, Area Superintendents, the WCPSS Athletic Director, WCPSS Director of Arts and others, has been carefully monitoring COVID-19 trends in Wake County and in the state of North Carolina.

The rise in COVID-19 cases and guidance from state officials would compel us to take extensive precautions to protect student safety should we resume activities, including daily temperature checks and health screenings, as well as strict social distancing rules.

In light of this, the subcommittee has determined that it is not prudent to resume athletic or co-curricular activities at this time, nor for the foreseeable future.  Therefore, all voluntary workouts, practices and other gatherings are suspended indefinitely. 

One of our WCPSS band directors who has been serving on a committee monitoring COVID-19 trends and their impact on marching band wrote me the following response to my inquiry:

“No physical rehearsals in July.  Following the Governor’s announcement on schools and then the NCHSAA response, WCPSS will announce next steps.  Nothing final as to the fall.

In light of these mandates, we are cancelling our Pre-camp and Band Camp rehearsals for the weeks of July 20th and July 26th respectively.  We will NOT meet as a Marching Band during the month of July.  I will communicate our plans for August once additional announcements have been made by our civil and school leaders.

I wish I could provide further direction with respect to the remainder of the summer and the fall.  Please also know that I have no idea what our concert band activities will look like for the school year.  I would expect that within the next several weeks the answers to these questions will be provided. 

I am always going to remain optimistic about the future of our band this year, as well as in years to come.  I strongly believe it is the only way to approach something as unprecedented as this pandemic.  As my mom would often say “this too shall pass.”

I will acknowledge that I am heartbroken concerning this decision as well as this pandemic’s effect on our society.  I pray every day that we will be guided out of this nightmare through scientific breakthroughs and intelligent decisions.  I will continue to advocate for our young musicians who want to return to the incomparable joy of creating music together!  This is a precious gift that has been taken from us and it is essential to our overall health and well-being! 

As I’ve stated numerous times in my “Doc Talks/Lessons” this past spring, it is important that we continue to engage our minds, body and spirit every day in order to remain healthy!  Learn something every day!  Exercise every day!  And make certain that you are finding ways to truly be happy every day!  We may be “frozen” or “suspended” from doing an activity that we love, but it doesn’t mean that we shut ourselves down and become less of who we are.  The way that you handle yourself in this crisis is truly a reflection of WHO YOU ARE.  We must make something GOOD come out of all of this!

Stay strong and positive!  I am always here for you!

Welcome letter, Roster and Schedule from Doc

posted Jun 22, 2020, 2:06 PM by Athens Drive High School Band

Dear 2020 Athens Drive Marching Band member and parent,

I just wanted to take a moment to WELCOME you to the 2020 Athens Drive High School Marching Band!  For those of you who are new to our organization, I want to CONGRATULATE you on making such a wonderful decision.  The Marching Band is the LARGEST organized group at Athens Drive and its #1 ambassador.  Most importantly, the Marching Band is an absolutely awesome FAMILY of musicians who share a passion for visual and musical performance.

This year’s band will include over 125 musicians:  Currently 44 woodwinds; 39 brass; 21 guard; 24 percussion; and 2 drum majors.   I have attached our current roster and our summer/fall schedule.  Please contact the band office ASAP if there is a serious conflict with any of these dates!

Although we are sending our current numbers to our choreographer, we have decided to extend the “official” deadline for submitting a marching intent form to this Friday, June 26th.   If your name is not on the attached list and you want to be included in our marching band, you MUST sign-up here by this date in order to be guaranteed a position in our band.  Also, students marked in parenthesis are “anticipated” to join but have not done so.  It is very important we hear from these students as to their intentions.

We are awaiting Governor Cooper’s directions (anticipated July 1st) as to when and how we are permitted to begin our marching season.  We are working with the intention that we will be able to begin “on time,” that is with Pre-camp July 20-23; Band-camp at N.C. Wesleyan July 26-31; etc.  We will notify all of you ASAP as to what amendments (if any) need to be made.  Rest assured we will exercise all necessary precautions to keep everyone safe and help ensure a healthy experience for all!

I can promise you that one of the BEST EXPERIENCES OF YOUR LIFE is just around the corner.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question

I hope and pray that we will be able to make this marching season a reality and that I will see all of you on July 20th!!



Athens Drive High School Marching Band

2020 Schedule as of May 12, 2020

Due to “social distancing” restrictions as a result of COVID-19, this schedule is very

tentative; amendments will be made in accordance with all regulations.

(All events at ADHS unless otherwise noted.)


July 20-23            Precamp 6:30pm-10:00pm

July 26-31             Bandcamp (N.C. Wesleyan) TBA

Aug.4-6; 11-13     Postcamp 6:30pm-10:00pm


Aug. 18                   First After-School Rehearsal 3:00-5:30pm

Aug. 21                   Football Game (vs. Holly Springs) 6:00-10:00pm

Aug. 28                   Football Game (vs. Broughton) 6:00-10:00pm

Sept. 19                  Saturday Rehearsal 9:00-9:00pm

Sept. 26                  Competition #1 ` TBA

Oct. 3                      Competition #2 TBA

Oct. 16                     Football Game (vs. Riverside) 6:00-10:00pm

Oct. 17                     Competition #3 TBA

Oct. 24                     Competition #4 TBA

Oct. 30                     Football Game (vs. Jordan) 6:00-10:00pm

                                        -8th Grade Band Visit

Nov. 6                      Football Game (vs. Cary) 6:00-10:00pm

                                        -Senior Recognition

Nov. 7                      Competition #5 TBA

Nov. 10, 11, 12         No After-School Rehearsals

Nov. 17 & 19           Christmas Parade Rehearsals 3:00-5:00pm

Nov. 21                   Raleigh Christmas Parade 8:00am-noon

                                Marching Band Banquet 1:30-4:30pm

Dec. 5                     Apex Christmas Parade 3:00-7:00pm

Dec. 12                    Cary Christmas Parade Noon-4:30pm

After School Rehearsal Schedule (8/18-11/5)

Tuesday & Thursday 3:00-5:30pm; Wednesday 3:00-5:00pm

(Guard & Percussion may differ slightly due to instructor availability. Rehearsal schedule for

these groups will be provided ASAP.)

SAT Dates:             Oct. 3, Nov. 7, Dec. 5

Students may sign up to take the SAT on any of these dates; we will make certain that our

performance schedule allows students to take the test in the morning/early afternoon.

Please contact the band director ASAP if there is a serious conflict with any of the above

dates (

Marching Band Update from Doc

posted Jun 16, 2020, 3:45 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Jun 16, 2020, 3:45 AM ]

June 16, 2020

Dear Athens Drive Band Member and Parent,

As this Friday, June 19th is our official “deadline” for marching band registration, I wanted to provide you with an UPDATE on where we are with the schedule.  I have spoken with Mr. Mares and our booster board, and we have studied the responses from the family survey question (from registration) dealing with attending band camp at N.C. Wesleyan College.

1) We are still planning to do ALL ACTIVITIES as specified on the schedule, including band camp at N.C.. Wesleyan College.  Our Band Booster Board members are working hard to develop a thoughtful plan to keep our students and chaperones as safe as possible at camp.

2) Before making any amendments to our schedule, we want to wait until the end of the month when our governor gives his formal instructions as to upcoming summer/fall activities. We will know for sure whether we will go to N.C. Wesleyan for camp by July 4th. 

3) If we are not permitted to attend band camp at N.C. Wesleyan College, but are permitted to meet for rehearsal, Mr. Mares will allow us to rehearse as needed at Athens Drive.  For the week of band camp, we would have “all-day” rehearsals.  We would access as many fields as possible (for percussion/guard, etc.). 

4) We will have marching band even if football is not permitted.  We will either attend other athletic events or find other ways to entertain our community.

5) If numbers on activity buses are restricted, we would request families to carpool students to competitions, parades, etc.

The most important message to take away from this letter is that the major decision makers at our school truly want to make this happen and will exercise all necessary means of caution to make it work! 

SIGN UP!  …and keep your fingers crossed! 

I sincerely hope to see all of you on July 20th!


"Doc Talk"/Class Lesson 6/10/2020

posted Jun 10, 2020, 3:47 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Jun 10, 2020, 3:47 AM ]

“DOC TALK”/CLASS LESSON – Wednesday, June 10, 2020


It has been 2.5 months since this period of quarantine/ “social distancing” began (our last day of school was March 13th).  I still find it hard to believe that this is happening.  The days are so beautiful and thankfully the vast majority of our society is healthy; however, it is chilling when we read about the accounts of people who are suffering and the “heroes” on the front lines that are working with these individuals.  I am thankful that I live in a society that CARES enough about human life to take extraordinary means to protect us; however, I cannot wait for our lives to return to “normal” so that we can enjoy our daily interactions and get back to creating the miracle of music!

I have a puzzle/poster hanging in my home office which reads:

Find a passion and pursue it.
Fall in love.
Dream big.
Make time to enjoy the simple things in life.
Believe in magic.
Tell stories.
Spend time with family.
Forgive even when it’s hard.
Learn more.
Be Creative.
Seize opportunities when they reveal themselves.
Love with all your heart.
Don’t count the minutes count the laughs.
Never give up.
Do what you love.
Be true to who you are.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Try new things.
Work hard.
Embrace change.
Trust in yourself.
Be thankful.
Be nice to everyone.
Be happy.
Live for today.
And above all…make every moment count!

I read this EVERY DAY and try my best to live by it—just like the “Desiderata.”
It serves as a gentle compass for me as I steer through my life…especially in these uncertain times.

Here are a few “coaching” quotes that I’ve discovered during this time of quarantine:

“You don’t HAVE to go to practice.  You GET to go to practice.  Being a part of a team and pursuing your dreams is a privilege!”

“Focus separates those with comparable talent.  When you are focused, you are able to execute at your full capacity.  Consistently good players are consistently focused.”

“Practice is the time to make mistakes.  Push you limits and try new things in practice so you can discover what is left to add to your repertoire.”

“Surround yourself with people who’s priorities match your priorities!”

“There will be moments in which you doubt yourself, but every time you grind through a tough time, you become more able to confront your next challenge.”

“When you get back with your team, there should be at least one thing about you
 that is noticeably better!”

Just for your reference, here is the listing of “Doc Talks/Lessons” that have been shared since April 13th:
4/13 – Introduction:  Make something positive/good come out of all of this!
4/14 – What’s the score? -- A lesson in how to read a music score
4/15 – Practice hints (no video)
4/16 – Berlioz’ “Symphony Fantastique”
4/20 – Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks”
4/21 – Chopin’s “Ballade #1 in g minor”
4/22 – Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3 (Eroica)”
4/23 – My favorite orchestral works (no video)
4/27-29 – Mahler’s “Symphony No. 6,” Movement 1
4/30 – Tchaikovsky’s “Overture to Romeo and Juliet”
5/5 – Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7,” Movement 2
5/5-6 – Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”
5/7 – Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6”
5/11 - Brahms’s “Symphony No. 1”
5/12 – Mozart’s “Symphony No. 40”
5/14 – Debussy’s “La Mer” (“The Sea”)
5/18 – Holst’s “The Planets” – “Mars”
5/19 – Holst’s “The Planets” – “Venus” and “Mercury”
5/20 – Holst’s “The Planets” – “Jupiter” and “Saturn”
5/21—Holst’s “The Planets” – “Uranus” and “Neptune” (and Matthew’s “Pluto”)
5/26 – Schumann’s “Symphony No. 3 – The Rhenish”
5/27 – Schubert’s “Symphony No. 8 –The Unfinished”
5/28 – Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4”
6/1 – Toy Story and Stravinsky’s “Petrushka,” Tableaux 1-2
6/2 -- Toy Story and Stravinsky’s “Petrushka,” Tableaux 3-4
6/3 – Let’s Go to the Opera!  Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Act I
6/4 -- Let’s Go to the Opera!  Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Act II
6/8 – Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Movements 1-2
6/9 – Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Movements 3-4

Wow!  What a line up!  I would certainly hope that you found much of this music and the recorded “Doc Talks/Lessons” enjoyable and stimulating!  To be honest, I’ve had a blast preparing them!  You see, I have done this so that I could make something good come out of all these odd times!  I’ve spent hours and hours analyzing scores, listening to recordings, watching great conductors and orchestras, and reading music books.  Basically, I went back to school and took you with me!  I’m really practicing what I’m preaching!

An administrator asked me once, “How many classes did you take on band?”  My answer, “hardly any!”  They were shocked!  I told them that I spent the vast majority of my 10+ years in college developing as a total MUSICIAN and the classical repertoire was the nucleus of everything:  music theory, literature, history, aural skills, composition, piano, conducting, etc.  In my entire 10+ years of college, I took maybe 8 courses which dealt with “band.”

This is not to state that the wind-band genre is insignificant—far from it!  However, it is a very small musical entity in the WORLD of serious music.  And if you don’t have a hunger, a passion, for serious music, a music career is probably not for you😀

I am truly honored and privileged to have spent the majority of my life working with wind-bands; however, I will be the first to admit that the repertoire of the orchestra and piano contain the largest number of musical masterworks BY FAR!!!

I got hooked into this music while in high school and the passion for it has only grown throughout the past 40 years!  What is remarkable is how much MORE I hear now than 40 years ago… and there is so much more to learn!  It’s so exciting! 

There is a story of Leonard Bernstein near the end of his life and he is about to conduct a work that he has conducted countless times and lived with his entire life-- Beethoven’s “Seventh Symphony” (the one with that gorgeous second movement that we discussed).  His valet enters his hotel room to take him to the concert and he is still in his pajamas…seated at the piano and crying!  Looking at the valet he exclaims… “What am I to do?  I still do not know all of this!”

You can never know it all!  But it is fun to try!

And remember, MUSIC is ESSENTIAL!  It is a part of our universe that is absolute, eternal, pure, and omnipresent.  It is a part of our existence that reminds us each and every day that there is a force of GOOD in this world that nothing can tarnish or destroy.  Perhaps it truly is the voice of God…

Keep learning! 
It’s all good! 
I hope to see you all very soon!

"Doc Talk"/Class Lesson 6/9/2020

posted Jun 9, 2020, 3:41 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Jun 9, 2020, 3:41 AM ]

“DOC TALK”/CLASS LESSON – Tuesday, June 9, 2020



1)  As this is our final week of “remote learning,” I will be sending you a video through tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10th.  I would like students to contact me (via text or email) if you watched ALL of my Doc Talks/Lessons throughout the past 2 months!
2)  Registration for Marching Band is OPEN on our website!!!
Please sign up ASAP, and spread the word, especially to rising 9th graders!  The due date is Friday, June 19th.  Our “new” section leaders/captains will also be contacting you soon!

Today’s Lesson:  Antonin Dvorak and his “New World Symphony,” Movements III and IV

Movement 3:  Scherzo; Molto Vivace
Music cue #1:  21:28-22:52 in the attached link
Molto Vivace = very, very fast!  So fast that this ¾ movement is always played in 1 pulse per measure:  1-2-3, 1-2-3.  This is not new as many symphonic “scherzo” movements (the word “scherzo” means “joke”) are played “in 1.”  In fact, this particular scherzo movement is said to have been inspired by the scherzo movement of Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.”

Theme A (E minor) is based on the interval of the descending 5th.  Even in the first statement, Dvorak answers the initial motif in imitative counterpoint (clarinet answers the flute/oboe).  In the second statement of the theme, the timpani answers the violin.  Later, the entire woodwind section answers the violins against a “cross-rhythm” played by horns and bassoons.  Dvorak then repeats this entire “A section.”

Music Cue #2:  22:52-23:32 in the attached link
In Theme B of the Scherzo, Dvorak ingeniously changes the rhythmic feel and mode (E minor to E major) and presents a new theme that begins with an ascending 3rd and is much more melodic than the first theme.

Music Cue #3:  24:00-24:30 in the attached link
The form of the Scherzo is called “minuet-trio” form—a very, very common form for this type of movement.  Essentially, the form is as follows:

A-B-A, C-D-C, A-B-A, Coda

The A-B-A sections are what is known as the “minuet;” and the C-D-C section is known as the “trio.”  Note that the entire movement is in a broad A-B-A type form.  In fact, the second A-B-A is a literal repeat of the first.

The way in which Dvorak transitions to the Trio is very creative:  He writes a bridge passage which includes the arpeggiated theme in Movement 1 stated in a very mysterious manner.  Note how restless this passage sounds…he is also changing keys from E minor to C Major.

Music Cue #4:  24:30-25:14 in the attached link
Theme C & D (the Trio themes) are very folk-like, very Czech.  Note that the C Theme is also based clearly on a C Major arpeggio.  I also find it fascinating that the accompanying bass line in the celli and basses are sounding the descending 5th of Theme A!

Music Cue #5:  28:19-28:59 in the attached link
In the coda of this movement, Dvorak brings back themes from movement 1 and 2 combining with the descending 5th “A Theme” of this movement. 

Movement 4:  Allegro con fuoco
Music Cue #6:  29:07-30:17 in the attached link
First, note the tempo marking:  Allegro con fuoco—fast, with fire! 

After an introduction featuring a “Jaws-like” ascending half step, Dvorak launches us into the “A Theme” of this movement, sounded by the horns and trumpets in unison.  A very power theme based solidly in E minor.  Note the emphatic “downbeat chords” sounded by the remainder of the ensemble. 

Music Cue #7:  30:17-30:53 in the attached link
The bridge or transition to the “B Theme” actually has a triplet theme of its own.  Again, one has to admire Dvorak’s prodigious number of melodies! 

Music Cue #8:  30:53-31:40 in the attached link
The actual “B Theme” is a shy-sounded theme in the relative key of “G Major.”  Note the “answering motif” in the celli—an ascending arpeggio figure that once again can be its own theme!  In fact, Dvorak develops this motif as this section of the movement continues.

Music Cue #9:  31:40-32:32 in the attached link
As expected, Dvorak writes a 3rd theme (C Theme) as a closing theme, once again in the key of G Major.  Like the B Theme, this theme also has another theme that is linked to it, commonly referred to as the “Three Blind Mice Theme.”

Music Cue #10:  32:32-34:42 in the attached link
Dvorak chooses NOT to repeat the exposition in this movement but rather proceed directly to the DEVELOPMENT section where he works with Theme A and the Bridge Theme, and also brings back themes and motifs from Movtments I, II and III!  

Music Cue #11:  34:42-35:15 in the attached link
One last trick…Where, oh where does the RECAPITULATION actually begin?
He brings back Theme A in a very strong statement—which sounds like the recapitulation, but it’s in the wrong key, G minor!  However, after just a few measures, he “rights” the ship and sounds the theme triumphantly in E minor—we are back home!

Music Cue #12:  37:32-40:20 in the attached link
For purposes of time, we’ll simply remark that the recap brings back the main themes A, B, and C that we heard in the exposition. 

What do you suppose Dvorak does in the coda?

If your answer is “probably brings back all the themes heard in the symphony, you are correct!  Well, not ALL the themes…but at least 1 from each movement.  I believe the one that is most significant is the brass chorale that we heard in the introduction to movement 2! 

Another very important aspect of this coda is the quiet moment in the middle of it played by the solo horn and timpani that sounds like a funeral dirge.  It recalls the melancholy mood at the very opening of the symphony.  Also note that the entire symphony ends quietly, with a long diminuendo to pianissimo. Why???

The answer is found by reading the conclusion of the “Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 

On the shore stood Hiawatha,
Turned and waved his hands at parting;
On the clear and luminous water
Launched his birch canoe for sailing,
From the pebbles of the margin
Shoved it forth into the water;
Whispered to it, “Westward! Westward!”
And with speed it darted forward.

And the evening sun descending
Set the clouds on fire with redness,
Burned the broad sky, like a prairie,
Left upon the level water
One long track and trail of splendor,
Down whose stream, as down a river,
Westward, westward Hiawatha

Sailed into the fiery sunset,
Sailed into the purple vapors,
Sailed into the dusk of evening.

This is the song of a Native-American leaving his homeland to explore new regions.  However, his leaving is precipitated by the arrival of the “pale-face;” a culture intent on transforming America into something quite different from his native heritage.  Again, we are reminded of the “stain” on our history caused by the expulsion of the Native American—the TRUE foundation of the “New World.”

Isn’t this amazing that Dvorak felt this and used it as the basis of this work?  Along with the African-American spiritual themes, Dvorak was very sensitive to ALL the cultures that comprise our country—he left no one out!  Interestingly, we tend to only celebrate the “energic, forward-looking themes” without recognizing the reflective melancholy ones.  To understand this work fully, one must recognize both…as well as the themes that reflect Dvorak’s Czech heritage.

Fun fact:  By the time he completed the New World Symphony, Dvorak was very homesick and returned to Prague shortly thereafter.  Some of the melancholy of this work is also said to be reflective of Dvorak’s longing for his own country.

1)  Listen to the final 2 movements of the “New World Symphony” without interruption.

2) Listen to the Symphony with a score

3) Listen to a really fun video about Dvorak and the “New World Symphony”


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