Friday, October 16, 2015


"A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to
  think.  Music is immediate, it goes on to become."
"You do not need to think all the time to
  enjoy music; you can just enjoy the feelings."

Complete (1878)
Orchestra Version
Zoltán Kocsis, Conductor
St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Complete (1878)
4-Hand Piano Version

Complete (1878)
Piano Solo Version
Robert Keller, Arranger
00:08 No. 1, C Major
03:48 No. 2, E Minor
08:56 No. 3, D Major
14:27 No. 4, F Major

22:02 No. 5, A Major
25:28 No. 6, A Flat Major
30:18 No. 7, C Minor
33:38 No. 8, G Minor
Edgar Degas: Russian Dancers
Complete (1886)
Orchestra Version
George Szell, Conductor
Cleveland Orchestra, 1956
No. 1: Molto vivace 0:00
No. 2: Allegretto grazioso 4:17
No. 3: Allegro 10:06
No. 4: Allegretto grazioso 13:11

No. 5: Poco adagio 18:05
No. 6: Moderato, quasi minuetto 20:32
No. 7: Allegro vivace 24:17
No. 8: Grazioso e lento, ma non troppo, quasi Tempo di valse 27:21
Complete (1886)
4-Hand Piano Version
Complete (1886)
Piano Solo Version
Robert Keller, Arranger
00:08 No. 1, B Major
03:52 No. 2, E Minor
09:34 No. 3, F Major
12:44 No. 4, D Flat Major
17:51 No. 5, B Flat Minor
20:15 No. 6, B Flat Major
23:52 No. 7, C Major
27:08 No. 8, A Flat Major
By the mid-1870's, Dvorak was a success in
his native Bohemia, and was beginning
to look for attention in Vienna,

Vienna World Exposition, 1873
Richard Moser: Vienna, Austria-Stephans Place Around 1860, Ca 1924
the cosmopolitan capital of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. In 1874, he applied for and won the
Austrian State Stipendium: a substantial grant,
newly created, by the Administry of Education
to assist young, poor, gifted musicians. He
would eventually win the prize four years in a
row and also won the admiration of one of
the judges, Vienna's leading composer,
Johannes Brahms.
Johannes Brahms
Only eight years older than Dvorak,
Brahms would become a close friend,
mentor, and a strong champion of
Dvorak's music in Vienna and
beyond. In 1877 Brahms pressured
his publisher, Fritz Simrock, to
publish one of Dvorak's Stipendium
submissions, a set of vocal pieces
called the Moravian Duets. In a letter
Brahms wrote to Simrock from Vienna
on December 12, 1877, concerning
Dvorak's music, he stated:
"In connection with the State Scholarships, I have been
receiving a lot of pleasure for several years past from
the work of Anton Dvorak of Prague. This year he has
sent in, among other things, some 'Duets for 2
Sopranos with Pianoforte' (the Moravian Duets Op.32
originally titled Op. 20 and Op. 29), which seem to me
to be quite charming, and practical for publication...
Dvorak has written all kinds of things, operas (Czech),
symphonies, quartets, piano pieces. He is certainly a
very talented fellow. And incidentally, poor! I beg
you to consider that! The duets will show you
what I mean and might 'sell well.'"

Simona Houda Šaturová, Soprano
Jana Sýkorová, Contralto
Balázs Réti, Piano
Op. 29, No. 3: Dyby byla kosa nabróšená
Op. 29, No. 5Slavíkovský polečko
Op. 32, No. 2: Holub na javoře
Op. 32, No. 3: Skromná
Op. 32, No. 4: Prsten
Op. 32, No. 7: Zajatá
The Slighted Heart: Op. 29, No. 3: Dyby byla kosa nabróšená
Simrock accepted the duets (Dvorak did
not receive any fee) and he published them
at the beginning of 1878 using the common
designation "Klange aus Mahren" Op. 32.
So impressed with the succcess
this music garnished he then offered
Dvorak a commission for a newly-composed
set of dances to be written in the spirit of
Slav folk music for piano duet.

The Slavonic Dances were originally written
for Piano Four Hands (four hand piano music
being a popular medium for amateur music-
making in the home; "Haus -Musik") which
can be played on either one piano, or two.

4-Hand Piano Version
Performed on One Piano
Sue Steck-Turner and Hannah Mayo, Piano

Considering Brahms' first two books of
Hungarian Dances, published in 1869,

[1869 (No.1-10), 1880 (No.11-21)]
Orchestra Version
Claudio Abbado, Conductor
Wiener Philharmoniker
1. Hungarian Dance No. 1, G minor [Johannes Brahms, Orchestrator] 0:00
2. Hungarian Dance No. 2, D minor [Johan Andreas Hallén (1846-1925), Orchestrator] 2:57
3. Hungarian Dance No. 3, F major [Johannes Brahms, Orchestrator] 5:33
4. Hungarian Dance No. 4, F-sharp minor [Paul Juon (1872-1940), Orchestrator] 7:52
5. Hungarian Dance No. 5, G minor [Martin Schmeling (?-1943), Orchestrator] 12:03
6. Hungarian Dance No. 6, D major [ Martin Schmeling, Orchestrator] 14:22
7. Hungarian Dance No. 7, F major [Martin Schmeling, Orchestrator] 17:31
8. Hungarian Dance No. 8, A minor [Hans Gál (1890-1987), Orchestrator] 19:06
9. Hungarian Dance No. 9, E minor [Hans Gál, Orchestrator] 21:57
10. Hungarian Dance No. 10, F major [Johannes Brahms, Orchestrator] 23:35
11. Hungarian Dance No. 11, D minor [Albert Parlow, Orchestrator (?-1888)] 25:15
12. Hungarian Dance No. 12, D minor [Albert Parlow, Orchestrator] 27:42
13. Hungarian Dance No. 13, D major [Albert Parlow, Orchestrator] 30:02
14. Hungarian Dance No. 14, D minor [Albert Parlow, Orchestrator] 31:40
15. Hungarian Dance No. 15, B-flat major [Albert Parlow, Orchestrator] 33:15
16. Hungarian Dance No. 16, F major [Albert Parlow, Orchestrator] 35:59
17. Hungarian Dance No. 17, F sharp minor [Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904), Orchestrator] 38:19
18. Hungarian Dance No. 18, D major [Antonín Dvořák, Orchestrator] 41:10
19. Hungarian Dance No. 19, B minor [Antonín Dvořák, Orchestrator] 42:34
20. Hungarian Dance No. 20, E minor [Antonín Dvořák, Orchestrator] 44:31
21. Hungarian Dance No. 21, E minor [Antonín Dvořák, Orchestrator] 46:58
had proven such a lucratively popular
success due to the fact that works
with "exotic" flavor sold very well at
the time, Simrock obviously wanted to
repeat this with Dvorak's music written
specifically to appeal to popular taste.
While Brahms's piano duets were
arrangements of well-known
Hungarian folk songs and gypsy
dances, Dvorak's set of eight
Slavonic Dances (Op. 46, pub-
lished in 1878) were original com-
positions that used the varied
and unique dance rhythms he
had grown up with in Bohemia.
Through their publication, Dvorak,
then principal violist in Prague's
the direction of Bedrich Smetana
Bedrich Smetana
and poor, as Brahms reminded
Simrock, gained international
fame and fortune. The Slavonic
Dances sold so well that Simrock
asked Dvorak to orchestrate them.
It is in the orchestral version that
the works are most well known
and often performed.
The popularity of this "light music," as
Dvorak called it, caused Simrock to
request a second set almost immed-
iately. For the composer, whose
thoughts were deeply into more
lofty creations, this was no easy
matter. In a letter to Simrock in
1886, Dvorak wrote,
"To do the same thing twice is devilishly difficult.
As long as I am not in the right mood for it I can't
do anything. It's something that can't be forced."
Eight years later, between June and
July of 1886, the task was completed
and he provided Simrock with a sequel,
a second set of eight Slavonic Dances
(Op.72) again in a duet version for
piano four hands. Between November,
1886, and January of the following
year, the orchestra version was com-
pleted. These pieces, though of a much
more subdued character, were equally
well-received and proved to be as
popular as the first set.
Beyond fulfilling a commission, Dvorak's
Slavonic Dances were, for him, a political
statement; an opportunity to celebrate in
music the Slavic cultures of Central Europe,
then under the repressive control of the
Austrian Empire. In these pieces, Dvorak
captured the spirit of the folk dances of his
native Bohemia, as well as those of Slovakia,
Moravia, Silesia, Serbia, Poland, and
Ukraine creating music based on their
folk dances including the furiant, the dumka,
the polka, the sousedská, the skočná, the
mazurka, the odzemek, the špacírka,
the kolo, and the polonaise.

OP. 46 and OP. 72
Orchestra Version
Slavonic Dances, Opus 46
0:00 No. 1, C major: Presto (Furiant)
3:38 No. 2, E minor: Allegretto scherzando (Dumka)
8:21 No. 3, A-flat major: Poco allegro (Polka)
12:31 No. 4, F major: Tempo di Minuetto (Sousedská)
20:19 No. 5, A major: Allegro vivace (Skočná)
23:31 No. 6, D major: Allegretto scherzando (Sousedská)
28:05 No. 7, C minor: Allegro assai (Skočná)
31:19 No. 8, G minor: Presto (Furiant)
Slavonic Dances, Opus 72
34:58 No. 1 (9), B major: Molto vivace (Odzemek)
38:33 No. 2 (10), E minor: Allegretto grazioso (Starodávný)
43:42 No. 3 (11), F major: Allegro (Skočná)
46:51 No. 4 (12), D-flat major: Allegretto grazioso (Dumka)
51:48 No. 5 (13), B-flat minor: Poco adagio (Špacírka)
54:08 No. 6 (14), B-flat major: Moderato, quasi Minuetto (Starodávný -"Ancient"-)
57:43 No. 7 (15), C major: Allegro vivace (Kolo)
1:00:51 No. 8 (16), A-flat major: Grazioso e lento, ma non troppo, quasi tempo di Valse (Sousedská)
OP. 46 and OP. 72
Piano 4-Hands Version
Duo Crommelynck, Piano
Slavonic Dances, Op. 46
00:00 - No. 1, C Major: Furiant
04:02 - No. 2, E MinorDumka
08:35 - No. 3, A-Flat Major: Polka
12:31 - No. 4, F Major: Sousedská
18:35 - No. 5, A Major: Skočná
21:53 - No. 6, D Major: Sousedská
26:03 - No. 7, C Minor: Skočná
29:12 - No. 8, G Minor: Furiant
Slavonic Dances, Op. 72
32:58 - No. 1, B Major: Odzemek
37:00 - No. 2, E Minor: Dumka
41:43- No. 3, F Major: Skočná
44:43- No. 4, D-Flat Major: Dumka
49:29- No. 5, B-Flat Minor: Špacirka
52:14 - No. 6, B-Flat Major: Polonaise
56:12 - No. 7, C Major: Kolo
59:34 - No. 8, A-Flat Major: Sousedská
Piano 4-Hand Version
Rieko Tsuchida and Dong Yeon Kim, Piano
Op. 46, No.1 is the wild opener of the first
set. Like all of the Slavonic Dances, this is
based upon a Bohemian dance rhythm; in
this case a furiant or swaggerers' dance.
(The name is from the Czech meaning a
proud, swaggering, pig-headed man.) This
dance was originally done by men only.
This rhythm, which also shows up in Dvorak's
symphonies, is a fast, three meter dance with
strong cross accents which alter the expect-
ed pattern of stress making the music sound
as if it were changing meter giving the dance
its rhythmic character. In the orchestrated
version the main theme (a brash dance) is
punctuated by the timpani and brass. Con-
trast is produced by slightly gentler woodwind
melodic ideas. Both ideas are reprised in
alternation with varied orchestration. In the
end, the music seems to wind down before
a final raucous phrase of the furiant is heard.
Piano 4-Hand Version
Alexey Skanavi and Basinia Shulman, Piano
Orchestra Version
Seiji Ozawa, Conductor
Vienna Philharmonic

Boris Kustodiev: Khorovod, 1912
Boris Kustodiev: Derevenskiy Prazdnik, 1914