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eclogues

OPUS NUMBER 56
BURGHAUSER CATALOGUE NUMBER 103
COMPOSED 24 January - 7 February 1880
PREMIERE - DATE AND PLACE ?
PREMIERE - PERFORMER(S) ?
FIRST EDITION Hudebni matice Umelecke besedy, 1921, Prague
PARTS / MOVEMENTS 1. Allegro non tanto (Quasi polka)
2. Quasi allegretto
3. Moderato
4. Allegretto
DURATION approx. 16 min.


“Eclogue” is a literary term denoting a short poem on a pastoral subject. During the early 19th century, leading Czech composer and piano teacher Vaclav Jan Tomasek introduced this concept into music circles. As conceived by Tomasek, the eclogue was a technically unambitious piano piece of pastoral character with a symmetrical A-B-A form. Dvorak adopted this model in principle as well when he decided to write a new piano cycle at the beginning of 1880. He was initially very taken with the idea and informed his publisher Simrock that he was attempting “a genre which is as yet perhaps little known in Germany, if at all. I have great hopes for it”. However, he was evidently not all that pleased with the result, since he did not submit his Eclogues for publication and used its opus number for something else. He subsequently rendered its thematic base in several other works, such as Slavonic Dance No. 1 from Op. 72. Eclogues was not published until after the composer’s death, in 1921, revised by Josef Suk