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Dvořák Rondo for Viola and Piano

Arranged by Bernard Zaslav

Title: Rondo
Composer: Antonín Dvořák
Instrument: Viola
Edited By: Bernard Zaslav
Instrumentation: Chamber/Solo with Piano
Pages: 11 for the piano and 6 for the viola

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One souvenir of Dvořák’s activity as a chamber musician is his Rondo in G minor, Op. 94, written in 1891. Dvořák had then agreed to become Director of the newly formed Conservatory of Music of America, and, as his duties in the new world would keep him away from his homeland for many months, he scheduled an extensive farewell tour for early 1892 - a series of concerts in thirty-nine Czech cities and towns, in which he would appear as pianist with violinist Ferdinand Lachner and cellist Hanus Wihan. The major work on the tour program would be Dvořák's Dumky Trio, but on Christmas Day, 1891, Dvořák set about composing some smaller works for the concerts. By the following day, he had completed the present Rondo in G minor, in its original version for cello and piano.

Based on a dance-like Slavic-voiced theme which combines jaunty humor with wistfulness in typically Dvořákian fashion, the rondo has two contrasting countersubjects, one suavely amorous in its melodic arch, the other euphoric with irrepressible scampering triplets.  Early in January 1892, Dvořák premiered the score with Wihan; several years later, he made a version for cello and orchestra.

-Benjamin Folkman

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Click below to preview or purchase a recording of the Zaslav Duo performing Dvořák's Rondo in G minor for viola and piano.