Whereas the first set had featured predominantly Czech dances (with the exception of the second which evoked the Ukranian dumka — not, strictly speaking, a dance), the second set is more broadly Slavonic, incorporating Slovak, Polish, Serbian and Russian elements in addition to Dvorák’s favourite melancholy dumka strains. In these sixteen highly varied and colourful dances, Dvorák had fulfilled his original brief to perfection, creating stylised, even idealised dance fantasias which inter – mingle folk elements with his own inspired melodies so effectively, so disarmingly and so artistically that for the most part they have defied attempts by musicologists to uncover the folk sources. Dvorák justified his approach in 1894:
‘From the rich stores of Slavonic folk music, in its Hungarian [i.e. Slovak], Russian, Bohemian and Polish varieties, the composers of the day have derived, and will continue to derive, much that is charming and novel in their music. Nor is there anything objectionable in this, for if the poet and painter base much of their best art on national legends, songs and traditions, why should not the musicians?’
You can adjust all of your cookie settings by navigating the tabs on the left hand side.