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Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Melody

A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
/
SC Public Radio

Already during their lifetimes, Antonin Dvorák and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky were among the most famous composers in the world. Their music is extremely sophisticated, the product of highly skilled composers, and their beautiful melodies have always been especially beloved.

Some critics, though, have criticized Dvorák and Tchaikovsky as being “just” melodists. Well. First of all, they both labored long and hard at their compositions. It turns out it’s not so easy to write melodies, especially beautiful, immortal melodies. Those critics should try it some time. And to put things in perspective, here are the words of the composer Hans Gàl: “Civilized man, living in a world riddled with artificiality, is in danger of forgetting primary phenomena. In our day it seems necessary to point out that melody is such a primary phenomenon, and that there has never been a period in history when melody was not the essence of what people considered to be music.”

A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.