Composed in autumn of 1881, Opus 61 is the last of Dvořák’s “middle” quartets by chronology for which Beethoven and Schubert served as the most significant models. Beethoven’s influence, from thematic development to motivic treatment, is particularly noticeable in this work in C major. It is only in the finale that the typical Slavic tonal quality usually found in Dvořák’s music surfaces somewhat more prominently. Due to a lack of time, the composer - contrary to his usual practice - turned to older, either discarded or hitherto unpublished themes from other works for three of the four movements.
This reliable Urtext edition continues the comprehensive Henle series of significant works of chamber music by Dvořák.
- String Quartet C major op. 61
The year 1878 marked a decisive turning point for Antonín Dvorák (1841–1904), for that is when he achieved his international breakthrough as a composer. The publication of the Moravian Duets op. 32 for female voices and the first series of Slavonic Dances op. 46 for piano duet were received with great enthusiasm by publishers, musicians and critics alike. The Slavic tone of … 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.|