Dvorak's Cello Concerto, composed during his second stay in America, is one of the most popular works in the orchestral repertoire. This guide explores Dvorak's reasons for composing a concerto for an instrument which he at one time considered unsuitable for solo work, its relationship to his American period compositions and how it forms something of a bridge with his operatic interests. A particular focus is the concerto's unique qualities: why it stands apart in terms of form, melodic character and texture from the rest of Dvorak's orchestral music. The role of the dedicatee of the work, Hanus Wihan, in its creation is also considered, as are performing traditions as they have developed in the twentieth century. In addition the guide explores the extraordinary emotional background to the work which links it intimately to the woman who was probably Dvorak's first love.
"Musicians in general and cellists in particular have reason to celebrate: Jan Smaczny has written an erudite, well researched and complete handbook on the Dvorak cello concerto. Smaczny has met the challenge of writing a complete study that is detailed and balanced, as well as consistently interesting. A work like this handbook is a rare and precious thing. It explores in some detail a specific concerto and is able to ompart to readers, through that exploration, and increased understanding and appreciation of music and performance in general and a view of a very personal and meaningful source of artistic creation." American Music Teacher "Jan Smaczny...has produced a must-own volume for any serious cello student, teacher of cello, conductor of the Dvorak concerto, or die-hard fan of the work. Smaczny's musical analysis is succinct and helpful...offers valuable insight in to the concerto's "meaning"..." American String Teacher "...an engaging study of Dvorak's compositional process, his life in the United States, his views on American and Czech music, and his mysterious relationship with the cello..." Notes