DVOŘÁK Antonín, Slavonic Dances Op.46, Nos.1 & 2

Presto (furiant)
Allegretto scherzando (dumka)

It was Brahms who recommended his publisher Simrock to take on the Bohemian composer Antonín Dvořák, then in his thirties but largely unknown outside Prague. After the success of the Moravian Duets in 1878, Simrock immediately asked Dvořák for a set of Czech dances for piano four-hands as companion pieces to Brahms’s Hungarian Dances. Dvořák was delighted at the prospect and wrote them quickly between 18 March and 7 May 1878, producing a set of very stylised pieces drawing on the forms and characteristics of Czech folk dances. The Slavonic Dances immediately enjoyed huge success, and in 1886 Dvořák produced a second set. The first dance is a furious Presto in the style of a furiant (very fast, with syncopations and cross-rhythms). The second is the only one of the set for which the composer took inspiration from beyond Czech lands: its origins were a Ukrainian Dumka, a wistful lament which is intercut with livelier episodes.  

© Nigel Simeone 


Support from individuals is vital to our work.
Your gifts help us engage the very best in UK and international talent in our concerts, and to run our annual Sheffield Chamber Music Festival.