Antonín Dvořák

Carnival, op. 92

            Antonín Dvořák owed his initial recognition to Johannes Brahms, who singled him out in a composition contest, the prize of which enabled the talented young composer to spend time in Vienna studying composition further.  Dvořák’s music bears some elements of resemblance to that of Brahms, for he wrote stunningly well in the similar genres of string quartets, sonatas, and symphonies.  Unlike Brahms, though, he was a successful opera composer, and his Rusalka is known the world over.  In fact, few of his contemporaries composed successfully in as many different genres as did Dvořák. Americans today, if they think of Czech music at all, it is that of Dvořák.

Cello Concerto in B Minor, op. 104

            Completed in 1895, Dvořák’s cello concerto (actually his second for that instrument, but the first is an early work not nearly as popular as the second) was the last concerto that he composed.   The concerto was not one of his favorite genres, notwithstanding his own ability as a public performer.   The Violin Concerto in A Minor and this cello concerto are concert favorites these days, but the few other concertos—or concerto-like—compositions play a minor rôle in his oeuvre.  This is somewhat surprising, considering that Dvořák was a prolific composer, who much more than most other important composers, made significant contributions to almost every musical genre.

In Nature’s Realm, op. 91, B. 168

            Dvořák is the preëminent Czech composer of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all of his successors, as well.   This is no small achievement, considering the number of great musicians--Mozart, for example—who thought of Bohemia as the most musical country in Europe.  Even today, one can hardly get on a streetcar in Prague without stepping around a double bass.  If Americans think of Czech music at all, today, other than two works by Smetana, it is of the music of Dvořák.

Serenade for Strings in E Major, op. 22

            Dvořák is the preëminent Czech composer of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all of his successors, as well.   This is no small achievement, considering the number of great musicians--Mozart, for example—who thought of Bohemia as the most musical country in Europe.  Even today, one hardly can get on a streetcar in Prague without stepping around a double bass. Americans today, if they think of Czech music at all, other than two popular works by Smetana, it is of the music of Dvořák.

Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, op. 70

            Dvořák is the preëminent Czech composer of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all of his successors, as well.   This is no small achievement, considering the number of great musicians—think Mozart, for example—who thought of Bohemia as the most musical country in Europe.  Even today, one can hardly get on a streetcar in Prague without stepping around a double bass.  Dvořák owed his initial recognition to Johannes Brahms, who encountered his music somewhat early in Dvořák’s career, and saw to it that he was enabled to spend time in Vienna for further study.  While Dvořák’s fundamental stylistic orientation is similar to the older composer in its classical restraint and dedication to traditional forms and procedures, his compositions are unmistakable Czech in myriad subtle

Symphony No. 8 in G major, op. 88, B. 163

            Dvořák is the preëminent Czech composer of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all of his successors, as well.   This is no small achievement, considering the number of great musicians--Mozart, for example—who thought of Bohemia as the most musical country in Europe.  Even today, one can hardly get on a streetcar in Prague without stepping around a double bass. Americans today, if they think of Czech music at all, other than two works by Smetana, it is of the music of Dvořák.

Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, op. 95 (“From the New World”)

            Dvořák is the preëminent Czech composer of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all of his successors, as well.   This is no small achievement, considering the number of great musicians--Mozart, for example—who thought of Bohemia as the most musical country in Europe.  Even today, one can hardly get on a streetcar in Prague without stepping around a double bass. Americans today, if they think of Czech music at all, other than two works by Smetana, it is of the music of Dvořák.

Violin Concerto in A Minor, op. 53

        Dvořák successfully composed in a wider variety of genres than do most major composers, owing to his receptiveness to commissions, his popular standing in the musical world, and his remarkable commitment to solving musical problems through effort, rather than waiting upon inspiration.  That being said, it must nevertheless be observed that the solo concerto played a relatively minor rôle in his œuvre.   Most music lovers are familiar with his cello concerto, but the A minor violin concerto is an equally attractive composition from an earlier period in his life.