Usually when I listen to Dvořák's magnificent score, I think of unrequited passion, romantic love. I just listened to it again, and something else came to me. Isn't music wonderful? It can stimulate so many different worlds in the heart and mind.
I'm always put in a dark-toned mood. Is that because I usually listen at night? I don't think so. This work seems to have a nocturnal personality, at least a spirit of twilight. And my imagination? Last night, it received this concerto as a Lament of the Pagan Gods.
In the farther depths of a Slavic forest. In a grotto strewn with boulders from craggy heights. Those invisible beings – those felt forms – of lustful energies and creative dynamism huddle round a large fire magically blazing its cold flames. They know their end is near. They have felt themselves fading from human minds and hearts for centuries. Christianity has trespassed the circle of Old Nature and is conquering with sword and with new conceptions of time and meaning. Now, a direction toward “truth” is displacing the enchanted stasis of pure being. As the people begin to embrace this new way, the rains falling in forest and in village are mingled with the tears of those rejected Titans.
The last movement – Finale: Allegro moderato – is like a Dance of Hoary Pride and Ancient Memory. Yes, those gods must fade as a new form of experience pervades the land. But they will not perish. They will merely sleep in hidden places of the land and deep in Slavic hearts. Someday, when the the madness of “truth” lifts like an exhausted plague, the Mighty Ones will awake and carry human imagination into a future beyond belief.
Cello Concerto in B minor