NPR logo From The Heartland: Dvorak's 'American' Quartet

From The Heartland: Dvorak's 'American' Quartet

Rob Kapilow Deconstructs Czech Composer's Ode to America

Czech Composer Antonin Dvorak (1841 - 1904). Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Czech Composer Antonin Dvorak (1841 - 1904).

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Czech composer Antonin Dvorak spent the summer of 1893 in village of Spillville, Iowa — a town populated almost entirely by Czech expatriates.

Of his time there, Dvorak said "As for my new Symphony, the F major String Quartet and the Quintet (composed here in Spillville) — I should never have written these works 'just so' if I hadn't seen America."

Composer, pianist, and frequent NPR commentator Rob Kapilow offers a guide through Dvorak's String Quartet No. 12 in F major Op. 96, and explains how the young nation influenced the European musician.