Evening Songs, Op. 3, Op. 9, Op. 31, B61

Opus number

3, 9, 31

Burghauser catalogue number


Date of composition

June/July 1876 (?); (revisions: Op. 3: 1881 (?), Op. 9.: 1879/80 (?), Op. 31: 1882)

Premiere - date and place

No. 3 + ?: 16 September 1882, Tábor

Premiere performer(s)

No. 3 + ?: Josef Lev, Antonín Dvořák

First edition

op. 3: Hofmeister, 1880, Leipzig
op. 9: Schlesinger (Robert Lienau), 1880, Berlin
op. 31: Urbánek, Prague, 1883
Like the Moon (Tak jak ten měsíc): not yet published

Author of the text

Vítězslav Hálek

Parts / movements

(Op. 3):
1. The stars that twinkle in the sky (Ty hvězdičky)
2. I dreamed last night (Mně zdálo se)
3. I am that fairy-tale knight (Já jsem ten rytíř)
4. When God was in a happy mood (Když bůh byl nejvíc rozkochán)
(Op. 9):
5. The soughing of the trees has ceased (Umlklo stromů šumění)
6. The spring came flying from afar (Přilítlo jaro zdaleka)
(Op. 31):
7. Visions of heaven I fondly paint (Když jsem se díval do nebe)
8. This I would ask each tiny bird (Vy malí, drobní ptáčkové)
9. Like a linden tree I am (Jsem jako lípa košatá)
10. All ye that labour, come to me (Vy všichni, kdo jste stísněni)
11. All through the night a bird will sing (Ten ptáček)
(without opus number):
12. Like the Moon (Tak jak ten měsíc)


approx. 28 min.

Evening Songs, written to poems from the collection of the same name by Vítězslav Hálek, are thought to have originated in June and July 1876, namely during the period between the composition of the second and third series of Moravian Duets. This dating, however, is difficult to verify, and it is possible that the songs were, in fact, written several years earlier. One of the factors which support this view is the poems’ musical setting itself, which essentially lacks Dvořák’s characteristic means of expression and points more to an earlier stage of the composer’s musical development. It has also not been sufficiently proven whether all the twelve songs were written together as a cycle, or whether they emerged at different times. All of them are strophic, with a clearly-arranged piano accompaniment, and listeners will detect the influence of the German Romantics, particularly Schubert and Schumann.  

Dvořák later revised the songs and published them successively in several editions with different opus numbers and with different publishers: in 1880 he published four songs as Op. 3 with Leipzig publisher Hofmeister; that same year he brought out two songs under opus number 9 with Schlesinger in Berlin, and then another five songs in 1883 as Op. 31 with Prague publisher František Urbánek. Only the last collection came out with the title Evening Songs, which is the title used today for all the others as well. Dvořák never offered the twelfth song (Like the Moon) for publication, having written the self-critical note “weak” into the manuscript. He dedicated the songs from opus 31 to his friend, baritone at the National Theatre Josef Lev. Lev also gave an acclaimed performance of the premiere of two of the songs – with the composer at the keyboard – held in Tábor at a “Dvorak Evening” on 16 September 1882. For the same performer Dvořák also arranged the piano part of two songs (I dreamed last night and I am that fairy-tale knight) for small orchestra. This version was premiered in Prague on 6 December that same year with the National Theatre Orchestra and conductor Adolf Čech.