Dvorak - Slavonic Dances
The two series of Slavonic Dances, Op.46 and Op.72, were written in 1878 and 1886 at the request of Dvorak's publisher, Simrock of Berlin. Simrock had recently published Brahms' Hungarian Dances, which turned out to be extremely popular and profitable, and after Brahms had attented him to Dvorak's Moravian Dances, he approached Dvorak with the request to write a similar cycle in his native Czech idiom. In a characteristic burst of creativity, Dvorak completed the 8 pieces in not even two month's time.
After the success of the Op.46 set, Simrock kept polling Dvorak for another set, but Dvorak resisted for a while, claiming that it was impossible to equal the same spontaenous quality. Eventually though, he got into the spirit, and once properly started, he completed the Op.72 set in an even shorter time than the first, not just equalling but in some respects even surpassing his first series.
These two series of Slavonic Dances, representing Dvorak at his most fresh and invigorating, are cornerstones of the four-hand piano repertoire, and have become even more popular in their orchestral versions. Despite being thoroughly Czech and nationalistic in idiom, nearly all of the melodies are Dvorak's own - surely the hallmark of the greatest composers only.
Eight Slavonic Dances Op.46 (1878)
Complete recording by Andreas Pfaul / Chris Breemer
Dvorak - Slavonic Dances Op.72
|6||Moderato, quasi minuetto||4:22|
|8||Lento grazioso, quasi tempo di valse||5:42|