Choral Songs for Male Voices, B66

Opus number

Burghauser catalogue number


Date of composition

12 January – 16 January 1877

Premiere - date and place

4 March 1877, Prague

Premiere performer(s)

Hlahol of Prague, conductor Karel Bendl

First edition

Hudební matice, 1921, Prague

Author of the text

Nos. 1 and 2: Moravian folk poetry, No. 3: Adolf Heyduk

Parts / movements

1. The Ferryman (Převozníček)
2. The Poisoning Sweetheart (Milenka travička)
3. The Fiddler (Huslař)


approx. 11 min.

This cycle emerged during a three-year period (1876–1878) in which the composer wrote the large majority of his choral works. The piece is written for an unaccompanied four-part male choir. The first two songs, The Ferryman and The Poisoning Sweetheart, are set to Moravian folk texts which Dvořák selected from Frantisek Sušil’s collection Moravian Folk Songs with Melodies Included in the Texts. In the second of these, Dvořák found an ingenious way to use the vocal lines to suggest the ringing of funeral bells in one of his most eloquent examples of imitation. For the third song, The Fiddler, the composer chose the poem of the same name by Adolf Heyduk. He used the melody from this song later on as the main theme for his orchestral Symphonic Variations.