Friday, August 3, 2012

Preview: Sampling the musical relish of Dvořák's Slavonic Dances

Seiji Ozawa conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in the first of Dvořák's Slavonic Dances, in C minor, Op. 46, No. 1.

by Ken

I could swear that we've sampled Dvořák's Slavonic Dances in Sunday Classics, but so far I haven't been able to find a link. (I really have to do something about updating the index.) I've had it in mind for a while now devote a post to these little treasures. I had fantasies of a really incisive in-depth listen, which might have been possible considering the miniatureness of the form. That's not going to happen, though, at least not this week.

I thought for tonight we'd just start at the beginning, with the blazingly proclamatory opening dance, with -- naturally -- its contrastingly tender central section. So here's how Dvořák composed it originally, for piano duet, and then how he opened it up into a new world of color and excitement when he orchestrated the Slavonic Dances.

DVOŘÁK: Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C, Op. 35, No. 1: Presto

Original version for piano duet

Michel Béroff and Jean-Philippe Collard, piano. EMI, recorded Feb. 9-12, 1976

Orchestral version by the composer

Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell, cond. Columbia/CBS/Sony, recorded Jan. 4-5, 1963


Well, we're going to hear some more of the Slavonic Dances. Surprise!

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