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Dvoř�k composed the Quartet in 1893 during a summer retreat from his teaching post in New York. He spent his vacation in the hamlet of Spillville, Iowa, which was home to a Czech immigrant community. The quartet was written around the same time as the New World Symphony, the crowning masterpiece of Dvoř�k's years in the United States. Of his time in Spillville, Dvoř�k said "As for my new Symphony, the F major String Quartet and the Quintet (composed here in Spillville) – I should never have written these works 'just so' if I hadn't seen America." In the second movement, a listener may detect the melancholic longing of an African American spiritual, a sentiment with which the homesick Dvoř�k sympathized. The spirited third movement imitates the rhapsodic song of an American bird, and in the final movement, the composition strongly suggests the presence of a railway or train.
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Reviews of Quartet in F op.96 The American
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