Symphony No. 4 (Dvořák)
Dvořák composed his fourth symphony between January and March 1874. The influence of Wagner can clearly be heard in this symphony. The principal theme of the second movement is a near-quotation from Tannhauser. In the Trio section of the third movement one can also catch a very brief but quite vivid reminder of a passage from the Die Meistersinger Overture. However, the influence of Brahms, which was to pervade many of his subsequent works, is just beginning to appear in this work. Dvořák shows his mastery of all formal aspects in this symphony, and some feel it is one of his best works. A portion of the scherzo was reused in the march In Troublous Times from his set of piano duets From the Bohemian Forest.
The first performance took place on May 25, 1874 at the concert of the Academy Readers' Society in Prague, and was conducted by Bedřich Smetana. The composer also revised the autograph at the end of 1887 or the beginning of 1888. The first (posthumous) edition of the symphony was published in 1912, and it is possible that Dvořák's autograph differs very considerably from that edition.
The work consists of four movements:
- Andante sostenuto e molto cantabile in B-flat major
- Scherzo (Allegro feroce); Trio in C major
- Finale: Allegro con brio
It is possible that the third movement of the symphony was initially an independent composition, completed before the other movements and added subsequently. In the work is still apparent the earlier neo-romantic atmosphere, but as a whole the composition already bears the hallmark of Dvořák's artistic individuality. A typical performance of the work lasts about forty minutes.
The work is scored for an orchestra of two flutes (both doubling piccolo), two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, bass drum, triangle, cymbals, harp, and strings.
- Score, p. XI
- Score, p. X
Dvořák, Antonín: Sinfonia IV. Re minore. Score. Prague: Editio Supraphon, 1990. H 3432
- Symphony No. 4 on a comprehensive Dvorak site
- Basic information
- Symphony Nº. 4 Free Scores at the International Music Score Library Project.
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