“It seemed that music was all that he could think about ...”
When a figure of such importance as composer Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) is combined with the name of one the most important Baroque architects in Bohemia, the result is something special. The Baroque Vila Amerika houses a National Museum exhibition entitled The Journeys of Antonín Dvořák. The building itself dates from the early 18th century and was designed by architect Kilian Ignatz Dientzenhofer. Stretching around the villa is a beautiful garden adorned with statues from the workshop of Baroque sculptor Matthias Bernhard Braun; the building’s first floor ceiling features frescoes with themes from ancient mythology.
The exhibition title refers to the composer’s frequent journeys, as he left the village of his birth, Nelahozeves in central Bohemia and travelled around Europe and America. As a result, Dvořák attracted worldwide fame, and among Czech composers, his works are still performed the most.
Thanks to modern graphics, you can accompany him on his travels and learn about the stories behind his most famous works, such as Symphony No. 9, From the New World, and the operas Rusalka and Armida. The museum presents some of the composer’s manuscripts, as well as correspondence, music recordings, photographs, and other authentic personal items. Through them, the museum describes Dvořák’s life, work, and concert and teaching activities. You can also see furniture from the room where the maestro worked, and his viola, piano, watch, pen, and glasses.
Above his desk hangs a portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven, originally located in the composer’s apartment in Prague’s Žitná Street. The museum first floor features a multimedia wall playing many of Dvořák’s compositions in a variety of arrangements. The museum is an important centre for the study of Dvořák and his work, making it a popular destination not only among tourists but also music professionals from all over the world.
Additionally, you can see the Antonín Dvořák Memorial in Nelahozeves, which can be visited on an excursion by train. Housed in the composer’s birthplace, the exhibition focuses mostly on Dvořák’s childhood and youth.Alicia