Ballade for Violin and Piano in D minor, Op. 15/1, B139
Burghauser catalogue number
Date of composition
Premiere - date and place
(?) 28 September 1885, Prague
(?) Ferdinand Lachner and ?
Magazine of Music, 1884, London
approx. 6 min.
When Dvořák’s oratorios had helped to establish the composer in England during the 1880s, he found himself frequently approached by publishers over there who wanted him to write shorter compositions as well. One such individual was John W. Coates, publisher of the journal Magazine of Music, who planned to publish a selection of short pieces in the 1884 Christmas edition. Dvořák, a master of the miniature, agreed to his request and provided the publisher with three short pieces. One of them, a song The Wild Duck written to the folk text, was never printed and the manuscript’s whereabouts are unknown today. The other two pieces were Furiant, Op. 12/2, for piano, and Ballade for Violin and Piano in D minor. The latter is composed in symmetrical A-B-A form, where part A is solemn, even tragic in character, whereas the short middle section B has a more lively rhythm and melody, whilst preserving the overall tone of the work.