Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/640

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624
DVOŘÁK.
 

hint at any want of originality, for here, as elsewhere, the composer is indebted to no one for any part of his ideas. But in such numbers as the 'Inflammatus' and others the Italian influence is quite unmistakable. It has been well remarked that he treats the hymn from the point of view of 'absolute music'; that is to say, that he dwells, not so much upon the meaning or dramatic force of each verse or idea, as upon the general emotion of the whole. It is this, no doubt, which leads him into an apparent disregard of the order and connection of the words of the hymn, though a more commonplace reason, must, we fear, be assigned for the not infrequent false quantities in the setting of the Latin verse. These errors in detail serve to remind us of the deficiencies in Dvořák's early training, and to increase our admiration for the genius of a composer, who, in spite of so many drawbacks, has succeeded, more perfectly than any other modern writer, in reflecting the spirit of the ancient hymn.

In 'The Spectre's Bride' the composer has reached an even higher point, and given the world a masterpiece which is not unworthy to stand beside those most weird of musical creations, the Erlkönig and the Fliegende Holländer. The sustained interest of the narrator's part, more especially after the climax of the story has been reached, the ingenuity with which the difficulty of the thrice recurring dialogue between the lovers has been overcome, the moderation in the use of those national characteristics which we have mentioned above, so that their full beauty and force are brought into the most striking prominence; these are some of the features which make it one of the most remarkable compositions of our time, to say nothing of the beauty and power of the music itself, or of the richness of the orchestral colouring. It must be felt that the man who could create such a work as this has everything within his grasp, and the assertion that no subsequent composition is likely to equal 'The Spectre's Bride' in beauty or originality would be premature, though it is difficult to refrain from making it.

In the longest and most recent of his works, the oratorio of 'St. Ludmila,' it is evident that the tastes and prejudices of the English public were kept too constantly in mind by the composer. A large proportion of the numbers produce the effect of having been written immediately after a diligent study of the oratorios of Handel and Mendelssohn. We do not mean to accuse Dvořák of conscious or direct plagiarism, but it cannot be denied that the freedom and originality which give so great a charm to all his other works are here, if not wholly absent, at least not nearly as conspicuous as they are elsewhere. In the heathen choruses of the first part the individuality of the composer is felt, and at intervals in the later divisions of the work his hand can be traced, but on the whole, it must be confessed that 'St. Ludmila,' even as it was presented at Leeds, by executants all of whom were absolutely perfect in their various offices, and under the composer's own direction, proved extremely monotonous.

There is no reasonable cause for doubting that the composer will soon again give us a work worthy of ranking with the 'Stabat Mater' or 'The Spectre's Bride.' Meanwhile, it seems somewhat strange that none of his operas should have seen the light in England, where the vogue of his compositions has been so remarkable. Of his five operas, only 'Der Bauer ein Schelm' has as yet been heard elsewhere than in Prague, having been given at Dresden and Hamburg.

The following is as complete a list of Dvorak's works as can be made at the present time; the lacunæ in the series of opus-numbers will possibly be filled up in the future by some of the earlier compositions which have not yet been published:—

  1.
  2. Four Songs.
  3. Four Songs.
  4. Die Erben des weissen Berges.[1] Patriotic Hymn for mixed chorus, to words by Hálek.
  5. Das Waisenkind. Ballad for Voice and PF.
  6. Four Serbian Songs.
  7. Four Bohemian Songs.
  8. Silhouetten for PF.
  9. Four Songs.
10.
11. Romance for Violin and Orchestra.
12. Furiant and Dumka for PF.
13.
14.
15. Ballade for Violin and PF.
16. String Quartet in A minor.
17. Six Songs.
18. String Quintet in G.
19. Three Latin Hymns for Voice and Organ.
20. Four vocal Duets.
21. Trio in B♭ for PF. and Strings.
22. Serenade in E for Stringed Orchestra.
23. Quartet in D for PF. and Strings.
24. Symphony in F (also called op. 76).
25. Overture to ' Wanda.'
26. Trio in G minor for PF. and Strings.
27. String Quartet in E major.
28. Hymne der Böhmische Landleute, for mixed Chorus with 4-hand accompaniment.
29. Six Choruses tor mixed Voices.
30. Die Erben des weissen Berges.[1]
31. Five Songs.
32. 'Klänge aus Mähren.' Vocal Duets.
33. PF. Concerto.
34. String Quartet in D minor.
35. Dumka for PF.
36. Variations in A♭ for PF.
37. Overture to 'Der Bauer ein Schelm.'
38. Four vocal Duets.
39. Suite for small Orchestra.
40. Symphonic Variations for Orchestra.
41. Scotch Dances for PF. Duet.
42. Two Furiants for PF.
43. Three Choruses with 4-hand accompaniment.
44. Serenade for Wind, Violoncello, and Double Bass.
45. Three Slavische Rhapsodien for Orchestra.
46. Slavische Tanze for PF. Duet.
47. Four Bagatellen for Harmonium (or PF.), two Violins, and Violoncello.
48. String Sextet in A.
49. Mazurek for Violin and Orchestra.
50. Three Neugriechische Gedichte.
51. String Quartet in E♭.
52. Impromptu, Intermezzo, Gigue and Scherzo for PF.
53. Violin Concerto.
54. Walzer for PF.
55. Zigeunerlieder for Tenor voice.
56. Mazurkas for PF.
57. Sonata in F for Violin and PF.
58. Stabat Mater for Solos, Chorus and Orchestra.
59. Legenden, for PF. Duet, arranged for Orchestra.
60. Symphony in D.
61. String Quartet in C.
62. Overture, 'Mein Helm.'
63. 'In der Natur.' Five choruses.
64. Opera, 'Dimitri' (see below).
65. Trio in F minor for PF. and Strings.
66. Scherzo capriccioso for Orchestra.
67. Overture, 'Husitzka.'
68. 'Aus der Böhmer Walde.' PF. Duets.
69. 'The Spectre's Bride.' Cantata for Soli, Chorus, and Orchestra.
70. Symphony in D minor.
71. Oratorio. 'St. Ludmila.'
72. New Slavische Tanze for Orchestra (books 3 and 4).
73. 'Im Volkston.' Four Songs.
74. Terzetto for two Violins and Viola.
75. Romantische Stücke. Violin and PF.
76. See op. 24.
77. String Quintet in G.
78. Symphonic Variations for Orchestra.
79. Ps. 149 for Chorus and Orchestra.
80. String Quartet in E.
81. Quintet for FP. and Strings.
[App. p.819 "82. 4 Songs"]

OPERAS.
'Der König und der Köhler,' comic opera; produced at Prague, 1874.
'Die Dickschadel,' comic opera in one act; words by Dr. Josef Stolba; produced at Prague 1882 (written in 1874).
'Wanda,' grand tragic opera in five acts; words by Sumawsky, from the Polish of Sagynsky; produced at Prague, 1876.
'Der Bauer ein Schelm,' comic opera in two acts; words by J. O. Vessely; produced at Prague 1877.
'Dimitrij.' tragic opera (on the same subject as Joncleres' 'Dimitri'); produced at Prague 1882.

[ M. ]

  1. 1.0 1.1 By the composer's desire, 'Die Erben des weissen Berges' (The Heirs of the White Mountain), originally published as op. 4, has been reissued as op. 30 by Messrs. Novello & Co. to whom the thanks of the writer are due for help in the compilation of the foregoing catalogue.