Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dvořák - Mazurek For Violin And Piano

Dvořák originally composed this piece for violin and orchestra and dedicated it to one of the great violin virtuosos of the 19th century, Pablo de Sarasate. Dvořák's publisher encouraged him to write works in the style of his Slavonic Dances, no doubt because of the popular appeal of these works. This Mazurek is related to the Polish folk dance that Chopin made popular.

Dvořák was an accomplished orchestral viola player and was well acquainted with violin technique as well. The Mazurek begins with a rustic theme in double stops for the violinist. The recurring theme continues in double stops that make this a difficult piece for the violinist to play in tune. The next section has a more lyrical theme that is well in keeping with the overall folk-like sound of the work while acting as a contrast to the more robust main theme. The first theme returns but is interrupted by the second theme once again. The first theme repeats and ends the work.

This short work is a good example of Dvořák's gift for writing original melodies that have the feeling of folk music. He brought this skill to many of his pieces, and in the larger works integrated his melodic gifts with masterful compositional techniques.

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