Symphony No. 4 (Dvořák)
Dvořák composed his fourth symphony between January and March 1874. It shows an influence of Wagner in its themes' development, and even in its thematic material, i.e. principal theme of the second movement is a near-quotation from Tannhauser, or the Trio section of the third movement includes a vivid reminder of a passage from the Die Meistersinger Overture. The influence of Brahms could also be heard. Both influences will pervade many of his subsequent works. Despite this and other influences Dvořák here shows true mastery in formal compositional aspects and some of his original, unique musical characteristics, which he will develop in his future 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 symphony at the end of 1887 - beginning of 1888. The first (posthumous) edition of the symphony was published in 1912, and it is probably that this edition differs considerably from the 1874 original.
The work consists of four movements:
- Allegro (in D minor)
- Andante sostenuto e molto cantabile (in B♭ major)
- Scherzo (Allegro feroce); Scherzo in D minor, Trio in C major
- Finale: Allegro con brio (in D minor, ending in D major)
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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