In 1878 Dvorák was commissioned to write something along the lines of Brahms’s “Hungarian Dances”, but using the sounds of his native country. The resulting eight “Slavonic Dances” led to his international breakthrough. “Furiant”, “polka”, “soudeská”: all are written with consummate mastery and dazzling formal sophistication. Although the “Slavonic Dances” also became popular in orchestral arrangement, they were originally written for piano four-hands. Yet the musical text Dvorák released for publication was anything but ideal. Now, to honor the centennial of his death, we are presenting his original version with a detailed commentary on the work’s sources and editorial problems. The fingering, always a delicate matter in duet playing, has been entrusted to Andreas Groethuysen, with results that will prove a boon to performers everywhere.
- Slavonic Dances op. 46
Antonín Dvorák’s Slavonic Dances, op. 46 (B 78), made the composer known beyond the confines of his native Bohemia and laid the cornerstone for his international breakthrough. The impetus to write them came from Fritz Simrock, the owner of the music publishing house of N. Simrock in Berlin. Simrock had been made aware of the Prague composer and his Moravian Duets at the end … 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
Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances are presented here in landscape format, each performer playing from their own page. All these offerings from Henle are meticulously researched, very reliable and well-presented with informative introductions and a largely hands-off editorial policy.
De uitgave van Henle is voorbeeldig.
All praise for the splendid large type and user-friendly page turns in the Dvořák …