Welcome to the third instalment of Tunes you didn’t realise you knew. Today we will be looking at the music from the Hovis advertisement. For those of you who live outside of the UK, Hovis is a big British bread company. Yes, jolly foreigner, in the UK many people love sliced and packed bread made on an industrial scale (mind you, it ain’t my cup of tea!)
Anyway, I digress, back to the music. The music used in the ad is actually the 2nd movement (Largo) of Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World”, Op. 95, B. 178 by the Czech composer Antonín Dvo?ák. It is usually referred to as The New World Symphony.
We have the sheet music for it here.
Dvorak (Dvo?ák) was staying in the United States from 1892 to 1895, and the US was then (more than now) referred to as The New World (i.e. the world that Columbus discovered, hence “New” World). It is said that in the 2nd movement Dvorak was trying to portray the feeling of home-sickness, something which the music did so successfully that the main theme was later set to lyrics and turned into the song Going Home.
So, what important tid-bits should we know about Dvorak (pronounced D-vor-jak or D-vor-zhahk)?
Q: Was he a one-hit classical wonder?
A: No, but The New World Symphony is by far his best known.
Q: What was he doing in the US for those 3 years?
A: Dvorak was the director of the National Conservatory of Music and was paid $15,000 a year – which in those days was an absolute fortune.
Q: Wow, so a classical composer who wasn’t broke?
A: Yep, there are a few, but not too many.
Q: Ok, let’s see the ad then.
A: Here it is, arranged for brass band (the setting of the ad is in Northern England, where brass bands were very popular due to large number of coal mining brass bands).
And here is the actual piece played by an orchestra: