Antonín Dvořák’s piano works are generally overshadowed by his symphonies and chamber music works, especially since those from around 1880 are very much oriented around Schubert, Chopin and Schumann. The situation is different with Dvořák’s later romantic tone poems, the “Poetic Tone Pictures” op. 85. Anyone in search of romantic piano poetry off the beaten track may find much pleasure in this, Dvořák’s largest piano cycle from 1889, for example in the impressive piece “At the Old Castle” or in the lively “Peasant Ballad”. The autograph and the first edition from the year of the work’s composition have been used by editor and Dvořák specialist Milan Pospíšil as the basis of our Urtext edition.
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Antonín Dvorák (1841–1904) started composing his largest cycle of pieces for piano two-hands in Prague on 17 April 1889, and completed it at his summer residence in Vysoká near Príbram on 6 June 1889. As early as 19 May he announced to his Berlin publisher, Fritz Simrock: “I must nevertheless write you … that in the near future I will have finished something for … more
About the composer
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.
|1841||Born in Nelahozeves (Mühlhausen) on the Vltava River on September 8, the son of a butcher and innkeeper.|
|1853||Attends 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).|
|1857–59||Studies at the organ school in Prague. Until 1871 he will earn his living as a music teacher, organist, and violist.|
|1861||String Quintet No. 1 in A minor, considered his first work.|
|1862||Position as solo violist in the orchestra of the Bohemian Provisional Theater (conducted by Smetana, among others)|
|1873||Breakthrough 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.|
|1874–77||Organist 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.|
|1882||Premiere of the opera “Dimitrij”, in the tradition of grand opera.|
|1884||First invitation to England, after which eight more will follow.|
|1886||Premiere of his oratorio “Saint Ludmila,” Op. 71.|
|1891||Professor of composition at the Prague Conservatory.|
|1891–95||Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York.|
|1893||Premiere in New York of Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” Op. 95 (American folkloric elements, cyclic techniques).|
|1901||Premiere in Prague of his most famous opera, “Rusalka.”|
|1904||Premiere in Prague of his last opera, “Armida.” Death in Prague on May 1.|
About the authors
Diese Poetischen Stimmungsbilder sind bei Henle mit Sorgfalt herausgegeben.