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String Quartet E flat major op. 51

About the Composer

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Antonín Dvorák

With Smetana he is the most famous Czech composer of the nineteenth century, contributing to the dissemination and appreciation of Czech music throughout the world. Among his around 200 works, encompassing all standard genres, are nine symphonies, fourteen string quartets, and twelve operas.

1841Born in Nelahozeves (Mühlhausen) on the Vltava River on September 8, the son of a butcher and innkeeper.
1853Attends the training school in Zlonice; there he receives a comprehensive musical education from Josef Toman and the cantor Antonín Liehmann; subsequent education in Česká Kamenice (1856–57).
1857–59Studies at the organ school in Prague. Until 1871 he will earn his living as a music teacher, organist, and violist.
1861String Quintet No. 1 in A minor, considered his first work.
1862Position as solo violist in the orchestra of the Bohemian Provisional Theater (conducted by Smetana, among others)
1873Breakthrough with the premiere in Prague of his patriotic hymn “The Heirs of the White Mountain,” Op. 30. Employment at the private Prague School of Music. Several state scholarships.
1874–77Organist at St. Adalbert church.
from 1876“Moravian Duets,” Opp. 20, 29, 32, and 38 (1876–77), “Slavonic Rhapsodies,” Op. 45 and the first series of “Slavonic Dances,” Op. 46 (both from 1878) enjoy great success. His fame abroad grows.
1882Premiere of the opera “Dimitrij”, in the tradition of grand opera.
1884First invitation to England, after which eight more will follow.
1886Premiere of his oratorio “Saint Ludmila,” Op. 71.
1891Professor of composition at the Prague Conservatory.
1891–95Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York.
1893Premiere in New York of Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” Op. 95 (American folkloric elements, cyclic techniques).
1901Premiere in Prague of his most famous opera, “Rusalka.”
1904Premiere in Prague of his last opera, “Armida.” Death in Prague on May 1.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors

Peter Jost (Editor)

Dr. Peter Jost, born in 1960 in Diefflen/Saar, read musicology, German and comparative studies at Saarland University in Saarbrücken. He did his PhD in 1988 with a thesis on Robert Schumann’s Waldszenen.

From November 1991 to April 2009 he was a research associate at the Richard Wagner Complete Edition in Munich, and since May 2009 has been an editor at G. Henle Publishers. His Urtext editions comprise predominantly French music of the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by Lalo, Saint-Saëns and Ravel.

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