Slavonic Dances Op. 46 (1878)
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
As a relatively unknown young composer, Antonín Dvořák applied for and won an Austrian State Prize to fund his composition work. Johannes Brahms, one of the judges, was so impressed that he referred Dvořák to his publisher, Fritz Simrock. At Simrock’s request, Dvorak wrote a set of eight dances for piano four hands, loosely based on Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, and later orchestrated at Simrock’s request. A second set (Op. 72) followed ten years later.
The 5th is a frantic Skočná, a rapid folk dance in 2/4 time that also formed the basis for Smetana’s famous Dance of the Comedians.
The gently swaying 6th dance in 3/4 time is a Czech Sousedská, usually danced by couples.
The famous 8th is a lively furiant, featuring offbeats and a contrasting 2/4 – 3/4 rhythm.
Performed: 8th: 17/8/2014, 24/8/2014; 5th & 6th: 27/3/2022