About the project
During his lifetime, Antonín Dvořák composed a number of musical works. He died quite early, leaving many musical sketches, so we had of a bold thought: What if we used artificial intelligence and finished some of his unfinished sketches?
We searched for a suitable musical theme and found it in the Museum of Music archive. We invited an artificial intelligence system for composing music from AIVA technologies to help us and the system studied the whole Dvořák's work using machine learning.
After a month of “virtual study” and a week of calculations, a new score of about 5 minutes was created. Shortly afterwards, AIVA composed two more movements that no longer complete any sketch, but extend Dvořák's work based on learned motives and patterns of composition. In the end, there was a composition of three movements, each about 5 minutes long, which we called “From the Future World”. Dvořák wrote his 9th symphony full of expectations of the New World and life on the new continent. Today, with similar expectations of the future world, we complete his work and thanks to the latest technology we pay tribute to the Czech master.
Who was Antonín Dvořák?
Antonín Dvořák was born in 1841 in Nelahozeves, a small village near Kralupy nad Vltavou. He was the first child and eldest son of František and Anna Dvořák. With his father being a butcher, there was an expectation that Antonín would one day take over his father’s trade. Soon after starting to learn the craft of butchery, it became clear his immense talent for music was going to take him in another direction.
When the family moved to Zlonice, the twelve-year-old Antonín studied under the tutelage of Antonín Liehmann, a violin-teacher and multi-instrumentalist. He learned to play violin and organ, as well as music theory.
In 1857, at the age of 16, he moved to Prague to begin studies at an organ school. At 18, he became a violist in Karel Komzák’s orchestra, where he would stay and play for almost nine years. One of the chief composers the orchestra regularly worked with was another famous Czech composer, Bedřich Smetana.
This engagement was essential for Dvořák. Not only did he get to learn contemporary Czech music, but also opera from around the world, thanks to playing in the Provisional Theatre Orchestra.
Soon after, he began composing, and met his love and muse, Josefína Čermáková, and later marrying her younger sister, Anna.
Despite relatively rapid success, he had to wait a couple of years longer to become financially independent. It wasn’t until 1875 when he won the Austrian State Prize (Stipendium) awarding financial support to young composers in need that he became legitimately independent and successful.
However, more important than the money was the support of Johannes Brahms, who was part of the awarding jury. Brahms recommended Dvořák to one of the most important German publishers, Fritz Simrock.
Dvořák composed the famous Moravian Duets, and the first parts of the Slavonic Dances, which became the first international successes for Dvořák.
This happy period, however, was marred by tremendous family tragedy. Within two years, Dvořák lost all three of his children. While overcome by grief, he created one of his most beautiful works – Stabat Mater. Paradoxically, this work finally opened the way for Dvořák to further succeed internationally, performing Stabat Mater at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He wrote to his wife, Anna: “My dear wife, … I don’t know what to write, only just that I am immeasurably happy having so much appreciation and admiration from everyone here. Goodbye. Your Antonín.”
A happy period began. Dvořák built his summer house in Vysoká near Příbram, and over the following twenty years proceeded to create some of his most famous compositions there.
In 1891, Dvořák received an offer to become the Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, with a salary thirty times higher than his salary at the Prague Conservatory. After first hesitating, he moved to the United States where he stayed for two and half years.
While in the United States, he wrote his most successful pieces - Symphony No. 9 in E minor “From the New World”, String Quartet No. 12 in F major nicknamed the American Quartet, a cycle of eight humoresques, biblical songs from David’s book of psalms, and at the end of his stay in America, the famous Cello Concerto in B minor – a piece that became an essential part of the repertoires of cello players worldwide.
At the end of his life he found inspiration in the realm of fairytales, fables and folklore, composing two fabulous operas, The Devil and Kate, and Rusalka. The premiere of Rusalka in 1901 was one of the last triumphs of Antonín Dvořák.
He died on 1 May 1904, suddenly and unexpectedly. As he lived, so he left the world, without pathos and ostentation. His last words were: “My head is spinning somehow. I’ll go to bed.”