Tag Archives: antonín leopold dvořák

A. Dvořák – Carnival, Overture, Op. 92: make music part ofyour life series


Antonin Dvořák – Carnival, Overture, Op. 92

Orchestra: Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin
Conductor: Lothar Zagrosek
Composer: Antonín Leopold Dvořák (1841 – 1904)

Make Music Part of Your Life Series: Antonin Dvorak – Piano Concerto, Op. 33 (1876)


Antonin Dvorak – Piano Concerto, Op. 33 (1876)

Antonín Leopold Dvořák (September 8, 1841 — May 1, 1904) was a Czech composer. Following the nationalist example of Bedřich Smetana, Dvořák frequently employed features of the folk musics of Moravia and his native Bohemia (then parts of the Austrian Empire and now constituting the Czech Republic). Dvořák’s own style has been described as ‘the fullest recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing folk influences and finding effective ways of using them.’

Piano Concerto, Op. 33 (1876)

1. Allegro agitato
2. Andante sostenuto (18:09)
3. Allegro con fuoco (26:21)

Rudolf Firkušný, piano and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Susskind.

The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G minor, Op. 33, was the first of three concertos that Antonín Dvořák completed—it was followed by a violin concerto and then a cello concerto—and the piano concerto is probably the least known and least performed.

As the eminent music critic Harold Schonberg put it, Dvořák wrote “an attractive Piano Concerto in G minor with a rather ineffective piano part, a beautiful Violin Concerto in A minor, and a supreme Cello Concerto in B minor“.

(bartje11 totally disagrees with the eminent Harold Schonberg)

Dvořák composed his piano concerto from late August through 14 September 1876. Its autograph version contains many corrections, erasures, cuts and additions, the bulk of which were made in the piano part. The work was premiered in Prague on 24 March 1878, with the orchestra of the Prague Provisional Theatre conducted by Adolf Cech with the Czech pianist Karel Slavkovsky.

Dvořák himself realized that he had not created a piece in which the piano does battle with the orchestra, as it is not a virtuosic piece. As Dvořák wrote: “I see I am unable to write a Concerto for a virtuoso; I must think of other things.”
(bartje11: maybe not a work with obvious virtuoso fireworks, but still a very, very difficult piano part, not for the average pianist)

What Dvořák composed, instead, was a symphonic concerto in which the piano plays a leading part in the orchestra, rather than opposed to it.

In an effort to mitigate awkward passages and expand the pianist’s range of sonorities, the Czech pianist and pedagogue Vilém Kurz undertook an extensive re-writing of the solo part; the Kurz revision is frequently performed today.

The concerto was championed for many years by the noted Czech pianist Rudolf Firkušný, who played it with many different conductors and orchestras around the world before his death in 1994. Once a student of Kurz, Firkušný performed the revised solo part for much of his life, turning towards the original Dvořák score later on in his concert career.

Robert Keller (1828-1891)

Publisher Info.:
Breslau: J. Hainauer, n.d.(ca.1883). Plates J. 2579, 2581 H.

Public Domain

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Antonin Dvorak – American Suite, Op. 98B

Yesterday I was listening to Dvorak’s American Suite on KUSC in my way to work. I told myself how much I will enjoy sharing this glorious music with you all, with many thanks for following, and commenting, and really making me feel that I belong. So here it is: The American Suite by Antonin Dvorak, and if you enjoy it as much as I do, please share it or comment, or both!

  Antonín Leopold Dvořák: Suite In A, Op. 98B, B 190, “American” 

American Suite

 The American Suite in A major (Czech: Suita A dur), Op. 98b, B. 190, is an orchestral suite written in 1894–1895 by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák.

Dvořák initially wrote the Suite in A major for piano, Op. 98, B. 184, in New York between February 19 and March 1, 1894.[1] He orchestrated it in two parts more than a year after his return to 

English: Antonin Dvorak in Spillville (Iowa) Č...

English: Antonin Dvorak in Spillville (Iowa) Česky: Antonín Dvořák ve Spillvilu (Iowa) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the United States and immediately before his departure for Europe. The piano version was performed soon after its composition, but the orchestral version waited some years. The orchestral version of the American Suite was first played in concert in 1910 and not published until 1911, seven years after Dvořák’s death in 1904.Background


The suite is written in five movements, each with a marked rhythm:

  1. Molto vivace
  2. Allegro
  3. Moderato (alla Pollacca)
  4. Andante
  5. Allegro

Analysis and reception

As often is the case with Dvořák, the orchestral version gives the work a new breadth. The cyclic aspects of Dvořák’s composition are apparent, in that the principal theme of the first movement recurs up through the conclusion of the work. This opening theme is marked by his American-influenced style. It is difficult to determine if it comes from the typical folk music of the New World or simply of the music of the Czech emigrants, to which the Dvořák liked to listen during his stay in the United States.

This mix of American influence with Slavic tradition is also perceptible in the rhythm of the “alla Polacca” third movement, and in the last movement’s themes native to the Far East, played byflute and oboe in unison, where the orchestra passes easily from the minor theme to the major one. This final Allegro movement was used in the trailer for the adventure computergame The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.

Far from any exoticism, the art of Dvořák’s orchestral work is in the field of pure music, and it is undoubtedly for this reason that Brahms appreciated it. Even in New York, when Dvořák encouraged his pupils to work on their own folk melodies, it was authentic recreation of the popular folk musics that he called for.