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.

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