The dimuendos at the end of the Dvorak New World, Schubert “Great” C Major symphonies

I’ve always wondered about the dimuendo from FFF to ppp on the very last brass chord of Dvorak’s Symphony #9 in E Minor, “From the New World”, previously known as #5 (Op. 95, B 178).

Berliner Philharmoniker (orchestra), Ferenc Fricsay (conductor)   licensed to YouTube by UMG for DG 1959 early stereo recording, presented on YouTube by Pentameron.

Maybe the reason is that there are many fortissimo chords repeated on the same chord just before the end. 

On a piano, of course, a loud concluding chord will diminish if held (the end of Scriabin’s Piano Concerto as an example).  If you want a piano sonata to end loudly, you need to make the last chord a staccato

(Of course on many modern recordings or in many concert halls, a final loud chord will reverberate and soften quickly.)

We could look at Schubert’s “Great” C Major Symphony (1828, D 944, where the score shows a dimuendo on the final octave at the end, from an Fz.  Most conductors don’t take it (Sawasllisch keeps the volume, which I prefer, unshaved). 

The work today is known as Symphony #9, but there are numbering issues with Schubert’s symphonies.

The C Major Quintet is similar, but it is understandable that a chamber ensemble may not hold volume on a sustained final chord for long.

(Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 10 PM EDT by John W Boushka)