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romance for violin and orchestra

COMPOSED 1873 (?)
PREMIERE - DATE AND PLACE 9 December 1877, Prague
PREMIERE - PERFORMER(S) Josef Markus (violin), Adolf Cech (conductor)
FIRST EDITION Simrock, 1879, Berlin
MAIN KEY F minor
INSTRUMENTATION 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, violins, violas, cellos, double basses + violin solo
DURATION approx. 12 min.

Romance in F minor originated as a reworking of the introductory part of the second movement of the composer’s String Quartet No. 5 in F minor, written in 1873. In addition to this segment, which became the main theme in the compositional structure of Romance, Dvorak added two new themes, treating them in traditional sonata form. The date of the composition isn’t entirely certain – according to the latest findings of musicologist David R. Beveridge, it appears to have been written in the same year as the above-mentioned quartet. The work was first performed by the leader of the Provisional Theatre Orchestra, Josef Markus, as part of the programme for the annual concert organised by the Pension Association Theatre Orchestra and Choir, which was held at Prague’s Zofin on 9 December 1877. Dvorak also wrote an arrangement of Romance with piano accompaniment, a version he dedicated to his friend, the violin virtuoso Frantisek Ondricek. Romance has exceptionally beautiful melodies and its orchestral version is also graceful and temperate. For these qualities it has become one of the most popular compositions of its type. Its orchestral version (and also a piano arrangement of the accompaniment by Josef Zubaty) was brought out by Simrock in 1879; Dvorak’s version with piano was only published in 2015, by Bärenreiter Praha.