|You Are My Dearest (No.9)|
|The Peaceful Landscape Awakes At Dawn (No.11)|
Cypresses-10 Love Songs for String Quartet
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) needs no introduction. He is one of the best known composers of all time. However, today, his fame rests upon only a few of his works which are repeatedly performed in concert, while other just as deserving works languish in obscurity. Of course, concertgoers will be familiar with his Symphony No.9, The New World, but how many know Nos. 7 and 8 which are equally as fine. In the realm of chamber music, and specifically his works for string quartet, his Op.96, The American, is almost the only work of his ever programmed. Occasionally, Op.105 or perhaps 106 will be programmed, but these are only three of his 16 string quartets, of which several others, such as Opp.34, 51,61 and the Cypresses, qualify as masterworks. Sadly, these fine works are rarely if ever heard.
The Cypresses were composed in 1865 and were originally a series of 18 lyrical songs for voice and piano. The text was taken from poems by the poet Gustav Pfleger-Moravsky. These were among the 24 year old Dvorak’s first compositions. In these songs he expressed his ardent love for a young woman. Highly personal, Dvorak chose never to publish the songs in their original form, yet they were too dear to him to ignore altogether and he returned to them again and again as a mature composer. He often quoted their themes in works far removed from their original format and finally thoroughly revised 12 of the songs which he released in two batches in 1882. In 1887, he took the 12 revised songs and made his famous and far more important arrangement of the works for string quartet. In these works, Dvorak, with a few minor exceptions, not only left the melodic themes intact but also did not change the harmonic and rhythmic aspects.
These lovely pieces can be played individually as encores or in a group of 4 or 5 to make a short program selection as we have done for our soundbites, or, of course, in their entirety. In the original edition, Dvorak chose to only publish 10 of the 12 songs, having decided that two were unsuitable. 80 years later, another publisher chose to include these two rejected songs. We have kept faith with the composer and have reprinted the original edition. Out of print and unavailable for long periods, amateurs and professionals will surely enjoy these fine works.
Parts & Score: $31.95