A maverick and a master—a provocative pairing, sustained over a quartet of programs that survey the four numbered symphonies of Ives as well as the final three of Dvořák. The season announcement highlights “unpredictable connections,” to do with the composers’ search for “new ways to view vernacular music in a symphonic context.” Okay, but here’s an alternate narrative. Of the European giants of symphonic form who crossed the Atlantic for a spell (Tchaikovsky to open Carnegie Hall, for instance, Mahler to lead the New York Philharmonic), who but Dvořák took the United States to heart and prophesied its potential? Does not the title Dvořák gave his ninth and final symphony—“From the New World”—speak volumes? And in 1898, just five short years after that “New World,” Ives got to work, marching to his own drum, conceiving symphonies in Liberty and dedicating them to the proposition (or a close musical correlative) that all men are equal. —M.G.
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