Recorded on 12/24/2008, uploaded on 05/07/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
On occasion a composer struggles to find the proper garments with which to clothe his ideas. For example, both the first movement of Brahms’s First Piano Concerto and the funeral march second movement of Ein deutsches Requiem originally were conceived as part of a failed Symphony in D minor. Such was also the case with Dvořák’s Romance in F minor, op. 11. First brought to life as a movement of a string quartet in 1873, Dvořák later abandoned the work. However, from it he salvaged the principal melody of the work’s slow movement around which he composed the sublime Romance for solo violin. Completed in 1877, Dvořák scored the work with both piano and orchestral accompaniment.
The Romance opens with the melody’s plaintive head motif accompaniment by a solitary contrapuntal line. Building in suspense, imitative entrances of the head motif lead to the full announcement of the melody by the soloist over a delicate broken chord accompaniment. Once begun, the soloist gives forth a stream of unbroken notes until the close of the piece’s first section. Enacting one of his daring modulations, Dvořák closes in the key of E major and begins forthwith the middle portion of the movement. Though still lyrical, the second theme has a decided vigor about it, aided by a lilting accompaniment figure. Interestingly, Dvořák uses a fragment of the principal melody as a sort of refrain between the two statements of the second theme.
Following the completion of the second thematic section, a quasi-cadenza passage where the soloist indulges in florid passagework over a static accompaniment ultimately brings about a reprise of the first section and the nostalgic mood of the opening. However, resolution comes at the beginning of the coda. Changing to the key of the tonic major and returning to the lilting accompaniment figure of the middle section, a new determination is found in the melodic bass line heard at the outset. This is soon followed by a restless energy driving the music towards a statement of the principal melody in the major key. Tension arises once more in the chromaticism which follows but ultimately gives way to an ethereal close in F major. Joseph DuBose
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
What a beauty
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