Dvořák composed this concerto at his publisher’s suggestion. He drafted it relatively swiftly in summer 1879, but completing it was a more drawn-out process that lasted until 1882. He had the famous violinist Joseph Joachim look over the violin part, and also dedicated the concerto to him. But Joachim’s suggestions resulted in numerous reworkings, and he ultimately lost interest in the work. As a result, the world premiere was given by the Czech violinist František Ondříček.
This formally unusual work begins and ends with a sonata rondo, and adopts a Slavic tone throughout. After a lyrical middle movement it closes with lively Czech dance rhythms.
This Urtext edition draws on both the autograph and on the first editions of the score, solo part and piano reduction. The solo part has been marked up by one of the concerto’s most knowledgeable exponents, world-famous violinist Augustin Hadelich.
- Violin Concerto a minor op. 53
After Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904) suddenly became known in Germanspeaking countries through the publication of his Moravian Duets op. 32 for women’s voices and the first series of Slavonic Dances op. 46 in 1878, numerous publishers and musicians turned to him with requests for works, preferably in the “Slavic style” that for the musical world of that time embodied a … 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.|