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Dvorak Serenade: Serenade Op. 44, Quintet Op. 7

4.5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 31, 1995
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It was during a period of increasing recognition--his first flush of international success--that Dvorak wrote both the String Quintet, Op. 77 and the Serenade for Winds and Strings, Op. 44. There is more than a little daring in Dvorak's having chosen the almost unheard-of instrumental combination of a string quartet and doublebass for the Quintet, for the work was to be his entry into a competition sponsored by the Prague Artistic Circle. Competitions often tend to inhibit outlandish displays of originality, but Dvorak seems to have reveled in his choice, and wrote the work quickly. The three-man jury awarded him the prize unanimously, citing the work's "distinction of theme, technical skill in polyphonic composition, mastery of form and... knowledge of the instruments." The slow movement alone might have won Dvorak the Artistic Circle prize; it is often cited as one of the most beautiful slow movements to be found in any of his chamber works. It opens with the simplest of scale-figures, rising in a mood of complete serenity; a middle section carries the first violin to exalted heights, prodded gently from below. The pace quickens before the first melody makes a curtailed reappearance. The exuberant finale is built around two ideas, the opening marked by some brisk dotted figuration, the second more flowing. They constitute a spirited closing to a work rich in variety and completely in command of its unusual instrumentation.

Dvorak wrote the Serenade for Winds and Strings (twelve instruments) in a burst of speed, and conducted the premiere himself. Brahms was entranced with the score and wrote: "A more lovely, refreshing impression of real, rich and charming creative talent you can't easily have....I think it must be a pleasure for the wind players!" The first movement is a self-confident march, contrasted with a more flowing middle section and finishing with a short coda. The second movement, following the classical pattern, is designated a Minuet but is typical of a Czech dance called "soudeska," or "neighbors' dance," a relatively sedate affair enjoyed by the elderly folk of Bohemia when the popular dances were too fast for them. Clarinet and oboe lead off in the rapturous Andante con moto, with a melody that evolves over a variety of rhythmic accompaniments. The cocky final movement, with horns ticking off their disciplined eighth notes, includes a return of the first-movement March.

Review

Great music-making... only a few ensembles maintain such balances consistently... the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is a member of that elite... revelatory to both mind and heart. -- Los Angeles Times

Stream Dvorak, A.: Serenade, Op. 44 / String Quintet, Op. 77 (Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society) by Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, members and tens of millions of other songs on all your devices with Amazon Music Unlimited. Exclusive discount for Prime members.
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
  • Audio CD (January 31, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Delos
  • ASIN: B0000006Z7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,278 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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