Very few really important works have been written for piano quintet – alongside the famous works by Schubert, Schumann und Brahms, the quintet that Antonín Dvorák composed in 1887 certainly numbers amongst them. It shows the mature master at work, who knew how to combine formal unity with melodic ingenuity and sweeping rhythms. With its ethnic-inspired themes the piano quintet has become one of Dvorák’s best-loved chamber music works, indeed even of Romantic literature in music. So it was high time for a Henle Urtext edition – 60 years after the Czech Complete Edition was published, it was time for a fresh look at the sources, including the autograph in the National Museum in Prague.
Read more about this edition in the Henle Blog.
- Klavierquintett A major op. 81
1887, the year in which Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904) composed his Piano Quintet in A major op. 81, represents a period of calm and reconsideration in the composer’s output. After several years of highly intensive work and travel, with extended concert tours through England and major commissions (including the 7th Symphony op. 70 and the oratorio St Ludmila), for a while … 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.|