Trainspotting tunes

Did you know that Dvorak was a trainspotter?  And that this was connected to the 7th Symphony?

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Franz Josef Central Station

He spent hours at the Franz Josef railway station in Prague, talking to train drivers and noting down engine numbers.

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Dvorak’s handwritten score for his 7th Symphony

The theme from his 7th Symphony came to him when he was at the station watching a train bringing anti-Habsburg sympathisers from Budapest to Prague for a festival at the National Theatre.  Dvořák strongly identified himself with the rising tide of Bohemian nationalism and had been tracking the group’s progress with enthusiasm.

At the very bottom of the page of the score of the first movement, Dvořák’s handwritten note reads: “I got this theme when the festival train from Pest was arriving in the State Station in 1884.”

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