Quite unexpectedly I find myself at the Villa “Mermaid”. The estate of the famous Czech — Antonin Dvorak.
I have heard a lot of interesting about Dvorak. The street and the square named after Dvorak. There is even a garden named after Dvorak. The Czechs love Dvorak like the Russians love Pushkin or Ukrainians love Shevchenko of the British love Shakespeare. Dvorak for the Czechs is embodiment of national spirit. The only difference is that embodiments of other nations are poets, and the embodiment of the Czechs is the composer.
Well, I am not a wild man, I have heard his works, but I haven’t even thought that someday I would visit his personal house-museum. It’s like in the previous post: it is a blessing in disguise.
By the way, you are probably wondering how I have guessed where I was. So, here is the answer. The secret of my location was revealed by banal refuse bin standing near the one of the park benches. As I was walking from that building (near of which I had spent the night), my glance was attracted by a colorful booklet lying near the refuse bin. I am not a squeamish person, so I picked up this booklet and read it. And then I compared the pictures that were in this booklet with the surrounding landscape. So all things coincided. It was the house-museum of Dvorak.
Imagine. Early morning. On the path of the old park the remnants of the former impenetrable fog are still swirling. Dawn. All the deer in the neighborhood were frightened away. There are a little amount of cookies left and only a half of bottle “Borjomi”. If I weren’t alone, I could pass the time playing cards or talking, but I have to wander through the park and look at the signs on buildings. That’s what I was doing up to 10 o’clock in the morning. Of course I could sit in the car and go further in Brzheznitsa at local fair, but I didn’t want to miss the excursion. Well, I waited for the tourists quite long. The first bus of tourists arrived only at 9.40.
Fortunately the tourists were not the Finns. They were the Australians. So I understood the guide (who spoke English) better than the group.
So this wonderful Czech lady told me and other twenty herdsman of kangaroos about the importance and value of great composer Antonín Dvořák .
It turns out it that this composer (who was looked like a dwarf of Tolkien) caused a triumphant procession of folk motifs into classical music. Prior to that classical music was the church music or the opera in Italian style. And every European country has its own canon. Slavonic and Czech classical music wasn’t considered as good music at that time.
And in the late 19th century Antonin Dvorak from the Czech Republic, the son of a butcher, shows to the old Europe his «Slavic dances,» * that all decent musicians and composers are beginning to revise their views about music in general and about Eastern European composers in particular.
* for those, who do not know: «Slavonic Dances» is a collection of works for piano by Dvorak. 1878.
At the peak of his popularity he became an honorary member of several musical academies; he made a triumphal tour of Europe. By the way, he went to Russia by the invitation of Tchaikovsky.
But he did not stop. In 1892, after leaving for the United States, he began to study the local folklore. He studied with such a big enthusiasm, that the local American composers in order not to drop behind the energetic Czech began to use Negro and Indian motifs in their works. In the USA he made his most famous masterpiece — «New World Symphony.»
Of course, maybe Dvorak was not so fecund as Salieri, Haydn or Johann Bach, but his role in European classical music is very noticeable. And the Czechs rightly consider him a pillar of their culture.
I do not know what the Australians think about the excursion, but this trip, along with nocturnal adventure made a big impression on me.
After looking at permanent exposition and having a couple of sips of Borjomi, I left this small group of the Australians.
After the finding a park keeper I asked him the way to this damn Brzheznitsa and returned to my car.
And now I am driving to the fun town of Brzheznitsa to the autumn fair. To the fair of honey. But I shall tell you about the fair next time.