Rondo for Cello and Piano : Work information

Antonín (Leopold) Dvorák ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Robert Cohen (Cello), Anthya Rael (Piano)

This work

Work name
Rondo for Cello and Piano
Work number
Op. 94
G minor
1891-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Simon Lawman
Bob Auger
Recording date

Track listing

  • Allegretto grazioso 7:44 min


Before Dvorák travelled to America to take up his post as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, he undertook a farewell tour of Bohemia and Moravia, organised by the Prague publisher, Urbánek. Accompanied by the violinist, Ferdinand Lachner and the cellist, Hanuš Wihan, Dvorák visited almost forty towns betwen January and May 1892.

The repertoire of the group included the Dumky Trio and several solo pieces for the violin and piano, but with no work for Wihan, Dvorák composed this popular and virtuosic Rondo in December 1891. With its frequent changes of tempo and mood, ranging from deep melancholia to sprighlty good-humour, it is much in the style of a Boehmian dumka (a folk dance). Dvorák later arranged it for cello and orchestra while in America.

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