Fans of Irina Legova and her work with the Thrupiece Philharmonic Orchestra will be surprised and delighted in equal measure to learn that the Russian Maestra has turned her attention (momentarily we fear) from justly neglected Russian composers of the 20th and 21st centuries towards more familiar repertoire: recording none other than Dvôrak's beloved Symphony No 9, the so called "New World Symphony". A product of the Czech composers sojourn in Lyme Regis in 1893, it is well known that the ageing master rekindled his enthusiasm for life and re-invigorated his art as a result of his stay at the Old Boathouse Inn (now the Crown Magna Boathouse) Lyme Regis. Late one night after sharing a particularly heavy Dorset Pasty with fellow composer Sir Charles Villiers Whisky-McNightly, Dvorak had an indigestion-induced vision of a land far away which he believed he was destined to visit one day. Rising the very next morning he booked passage on the SS Hallucitania and sailed to the USA where he completed the composition of his New World Symphony (known in the UK as his Hovis Symphony) almost immediately. The score is dedicated to Sir Charles Villiers Whisky McNightly "in the hope our paths never cross again".*
Dvorak's Brave New World Symphony is almost unrecognisable in this new version by The Thrupiece Philharmonic Orchestra under Music Director Irina Legova. A spokesperson for Hornimint Records says the cover is "challenging
but by no means in poor taste".
Dorset Radio's Classic AM presenter John Suckett-Andsee describes the piece as "perhaps the most popular piece of music ever written, Absolutely everyone knows and loves it - or at least they have until now. It's virtually impossible to butter a piece of toast without humming it." So is it perhaps too popular and was another recording really necessary? "Not at all", John continues, "this is a brand new interpretation - the first on period weapons - and it will be a revelation even to those who know it well. I would go as far as to say that in Ms Legova's hands it becomes almost unrecognisable". "I can think of no recording of the piece more likely to dislodge it from its hitherto unassailable place in the nation's affections", he added.
So is the music loving public in for a treat? "You could say that; though personally I wouldn't. No. The answer is definitely no."
* Dvorak later declined an invitation to return to Dorset to become head of the Shipton Gorge Conservatoire in the mistaken belief that the post involved wearing bell-bottoms and climbing a 50 foot mast to sound reveille. He stayed instead in New York and founded a restaurant chain Dvorak's Burgers "Czech One Out Today". It was his devotion to expanding his fast-food catering empire which was responsible for the non-appearance of a tenth symphony.
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