New Music Friday: Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 2

The sixteen Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvořák were originally composed to be played on the piano by two performers (four hands), a not unusual practice of the time (1878) designed to familiarize more people with music in their own homes in those days before sound recordings were available. The instant popularity of the Dances led Dvořák to create orchestrations for full orchestra, making them widely known in Europe and America’s concert halls and bringing him much recognition as a composer. The music is full of the national characteristics found in Slavic dance rhythms, but the melodies are all by Dvořák. This string orchestra arrangement increases the opportunities for even more performers and audiences to enjoy it.

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About Slavonic Dance, Op. 46 No. 2

This arrangement is written for advanced string orchestra. The considerable divisi writing imitates Dvorak’s full orchestral sound. The melody makes good use of sixth position for the first violins, and the violas have a passage in half-position. The included fingerings and bowings make the more difficult passages easily playable after study.

The mood and tempo change frequently from the more pensive melody in E minor and the energetic dance in G major. Broaden the tempo at J, and make a ritard into Tempo I at bar 163. If celli are too heavy at G, have one player on each stand play only the first note of every beat.

About Doris Preucil

Doris Preucil is the founder and Director Emerita of the Preucil School of Music, a Suzuki school established in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1975. An honors graduate of the Eastman School of Music, she was a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic. She has taught at Western Illinois University and the University of Northern Iowa and presented workshops in North and South America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and Korea.

A Suzuki teacher since 1963, she was chosen by Dr. Suzuki to author the nine volumes comprising the Suzuki Viola School and has published other works for violin, viola, and cello. Mrs. Preucil has received awards from the American String Teachers Association and the American Viola Society. In 2004, she was honored with the Career Achievement Award from the Eastman School of Music.

New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 2

Antonín Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances were originally composed to be played on the piano by two performers. The composer then created orchestrations for full orchestra, bringing him much recognition as a composer. This string orchestra arrangement increases the opportunities for even more performers and audiences to enjoy it.

Read More »
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New Music Friday: Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon is a whimsical piece that appeals to all ages. Its bouncy rhythms and upbeat melodies reference the feeling of wind rushing through our hair or the laughter of family members as games are played, and memories are shared. The piece is targeted at advancing junior and intermediate string ensembles and works for young and mature players alike. One of the charms of this piece is the constant tug-of-war between triplets and the straight eighth notes. With its lilting, infectious themes, Sunday Afternoon is spirited, fun to play, and will be a favorite with audiences and players alike.

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New Music Friday: Symphony Op. 11, No. 2: II. Andante & III. Presto

The Guadeloupean Creole composer, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), led a remarkable life as not only a prolific composer but also a virtuoso violinist, music director, and conductor of a prominent Parisian symphony orchestra, military officer, and fencing champion. This arrangement of Symphony Op. 11, No. 2 includes movements II (Andante) and III (Presto). The two movements are to be performed attacca, with no pause in between. The Andante movement features a lyrical melody that is first heard in the violins and then echoed by the violas, cellos, and basses. This music was originally used as part of the overture to Bologne’s only surviving opera, L’Amant Anonyme.

The 1st violin part requires shifting as high as III position, and fingering suggestions are included. The 2nd violin part is active and requires strong players; however, there is no shifting involved. Both movements should use tapered phrasing and light, clean, off-the-string bow strokes. The cello part includes a number of viola cues that could be helpful if there is a smaller viola section in the ensemble.

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