Piano Trio Op. 90 'Dumky' : Work information

Antonín (Leopold) Dvorák ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Jonathan Carney (Violin), Clive Greensmith (Cello)

This work

Work name
Piano Trio Op. 90 'Dumky'
Work number
Op. 90
E minor
1891-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Matthew Dilley
Andrew Lang
Recording date

Track listing

  • Lento Maestoso 1 4:25 min
  • Poco adagio 6:57 min
  • Andante 6:23 min
  • Andante Moderato 4:50 min
  • Allegro 4:33 min
  • Lento Maestoso 4:25 min


One of Dvorak's most popular chamber works, the Dumky Piano Trio was composed between November 1890 and February 1891. Strikingly original, it consists of six dumky movements, the dumka being a Slavonic folk dance in which elegaic music is alternated with fast lively sections.

Staying close to its folk origins, The Dumky Trio is a charming work that manages to imbue each colourful dumka with its own individuality. The work was played by Dvorak, the violinst Ferdinand Lachner, and cellist Hanus Wihan on a farewell tour of Bohemia and Moravia prior to the composer's departure for America in 1892.

The Composers

Antonín (Leopold) Dvorák

Born near Prague, Dvorák studied the violin with his local school master. Then, between 1857 and 1859, he attended the Prague Organ School. He was influenced by the Czech composer Smetana who, from 1866, directed the Opera Orchestra in which Dvorák played the viola. From about 1873, he devoted most of his life to composition. He won the Austrian State Stipendium three times, in 1874, 1876 and 1877. This got the attention of the composer Johannes Brahms , who in 1878 arranged for the publisher Simrock to publish some of Dvorák’s works. Under this arrangement, Dvorák’s music began to be performed throughout Europe. Some of these early works include the Slavonic Dances, the Symphony No. 6 and the Stabat Mater. He received several commissions, particularly in England, where he was very popular and much admired. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by Cambridge University.

In 1891 Dvorák became a Professor of Composition at the Prague Conservatoire, and before leaving for the USA he toured Bohemia playing the new Dumky Trio. From 1892 until 1895 he was the Director of the new National Conservatory in New York, teaching composition. During this period of his life, his compositions show his deep interest in American folk music. These include the famous Symphony No. 9 ('From the New World'), the String Quartet in F, the String Quintet in E flat and the Cello Concerto.

Homesickness took him back to Prague, where he began to write symphonic poems. He received many honours in his own country and resisted invitations by Brahms to move to Vienna where he was only grudgingly accepted. His attempts at dramatic music were eventually rewarded with the success of the opera Rusalka (1901). He died in 1904, shortly after the first performances of his last opera, Armida. The late 19th century brought an increasing awareness of national identity to various ethnic groups in Europe and Dvorák’s musical career was influenced by the spirit of Bohemian nationalism.

Related Composers: Smetana, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Wagner