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Name of Work

Dvořák, Antonín (1841-1904)
String Sextet in A, Op. 48 (1998)

Movements:
Allegro moderato
Dumka: Poco allegretto
Furiant: Presto
Finale: Theme with Variations (Allegretto grazioso, quasi Andantino/ Allegro)

Performances:


Nov 15, 1998



Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Stefan Hersh, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Robert Swan, Viola
Christopher Costanza, Cello
Katinka Kleijn, Cello


Nov 16, 1998



Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Stefan Hersh, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Robert Swan, Viola
Christopher Costanza, Cello
Katinka Kleijn, Cello

DVORAK - String Sextet in A, Op. 48

Composed in 1879

Antonin Dvořák, working in the generation before Janácek, achieved fame rather earlier in his life; he received the 1875 Austrian State Prize for the aid of "young, poor, and talented painters, sculptors, and musicians in the Austrian half of the Empire." As a resident of the Bohemian capital of Prague, he was considered an Austrian subject, though his own feelings made him part of the movement for Bohemian nationalism. One of the judges on the Viennese committee that awarded these stipends was Johannes Brahms, who admired his younger colleague's music and drew it to the attention of his own publisher, the German house of Simrock, which commissioned Dvořák's first set of Slavonic Dances for orchestra in 1878. This score brought the 37-year-old composer his first recognition outside his native land; it and subsequent works - orchestral, chamber, choral, and stage - would lead to the international success he enjoyed during the second half of his life, with his music enjoying performances in Prague, in Germany and Austria, in England, and in the United States. He made several visits to England and spent a lengthy sojourn in the United States as director of New York's National Conservatory.

His Sextet in A Major for two violins, two violas, and two cellos was composed shortly after the first set of Slavonic Dances; Brahms's good friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim, led the ensemble that gave the piece its first performance, in Berlin in 1879. Like the dances, the sextet reflects Dvořák's interest in and love for the folk music of his homeland; it also contains the lyrical melodiousness and generally sunlit moods that have made his chamber compositions favorites with players and audiences for more than a century. The second movement is subtitled "Dumka," a term derived from the Ukrainian language; it describes a mournful song, and is a characteristic folksong type in many Eastern European cultures. Dvořák used the style in quite a few of his chamber works, including the Dumky piano trio; the sextet movement has a hint of gypsy music as well. The third-movement Scherzo is subtitled "Furiant," a Czech dance style that, as the word might imply, is lively in the extreme. The sextet closes with an extended set of variations on a songlike theme introduced by the first viola.

Program Notes by Andrea Lamoreaux

Performed November 15 and 16, 1998



Performance Audio

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