String Quartet No. 3 (Dvořák)

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At over an hour's duration, Dvořák's String Quartet No. 3[1] in D major B. 18 is the longest of his compositions for this medium. It was written early in his career, probably at some stage in the years 1869 and 1870.[2][3] In addition to its length, its style has been described in parts as Wagnerian.[4][5]


The String Quartet No. 3 was one of three (Nos. 2, 3, and 4) which Dvořák believed he had destroyed after he had disposed of the scores, they having been written early in his composing career. The exact date of this one cannot be ascertained, but all three were composed during the years 1868 to 1870, with the completion of No. 4 given as December 1870.[2] At a later stage the separate parts for the individual players were re-discovered and these quartets rescued for posterity.[4] This quartet appears not to have been published commercially, but it appears in the Souborné vydání díla (complete critical edition), volume 5, dated 1964.[6]

It received its first performance by the Dvorak Quartet, at the Rudolfinium, Prague, on 12 January 1969.[5]


String Quartet No. 3 in D major, B. 18 is in four movements, as follows:[7]

  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Andantino
  3. Allegro energico — Trio
  4. Finale: Allegretto

Typical performances take between 60 and 65 minutes.


According to one source,[8] the first recording was in 1938, by the Lener (Lehner) Quartet, which may have been reissued on CD by Rockport Records, although this was unverifiable in October 2015.[9] Another source[10] indicates that this recording was of String Quartet No. 10 in E major (which was 'No. 3' based on the old-style numbering). This would suggest that the first recording was in 1976 by the Prague String Quartet for Deutsche Grammophon.[2] Subsequent recordings have been made by the Stamic, Panocha, Vlach and Zemlinsky string quartets.[8]



  • Burghauser, Jarmil (1977). Notes translated by John Coombs – Dvorak: The String Quartets (Set: 429-193-2) (CD Box Set). Antonín Dvořák. Germany: Deutsche Grammophon. 429-196-2, tracks 1-4. 
  • Šourek, Otakar; (Trans.)Samsour, Roberta Finlayson. The Chamber Music of Antonín Dvořák. Czechoslovakia: Artia. 
  • Herbert and Trufitt, Peter J F and Ian T. Antonin Dvorak complete catalogue of works, (The Dvorak Society occasional publications no. 4), 4th revised edition, 2004. The Dvorak Society for Czech and Slovak Music. ISBN 0-9532769-4-5. 
  • Prager Streichquartett, Deutsche Grammophon CD recording of SQ No. 3 429-196-2, Tracks 1-4. 

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