From the Bouquet of Slavonic Folk Songs, Op. 43, B76

Opus number


Burghauser catalogue number


Date of composition

21 December 1877 - 6 January 1878

Premiere - date and place

Nos. 1 and 3: 8 December 1878, Prague
complete performance: 15 December 1878, Brno

Premiere performer(s)

Nos. 1 and 3: Hlahol of Prague, conductor Karel Knittl
complete performance: Beseda brnenska, conductor Leos Janacek, piano: Antonin Dvorak

First edition

with original two-hand piano accompaniment by Dvorak: not published yet
with four-hand piano accompaniment by Josef Zubaty : Emanuel Stary, 1879, Prague


Slovak folk songs

Parts / movements

1. Sorrow (Zal)
2. Miraculous Water (Divna voda)
3. The Girl in the Grove (Devce v haji)


approx. 8 min. 30 s.

Dvorak wrote this cycle of choral songs for male voices with piano accompaniment in late 1877 and early 1878; the music is set to the texts of Slovak folk songs. In contrast to his previous works in this genre, the composer used a piano accompaniment, which enabled him to broaden considerably the palette of sounds afforded by a male choir. The piano part was originally written for two hands, but the first edition published by Emanuel Stary in Prague (1879) came out in an arrangement for four hands by the composer’s friend, Josef Zubaty. The first part of the cycle entitled “Sorrow” is surprising for the sharp contrast between the solemn nature of the text and the carefree, lively mood of the musical setting. The manuscript, which Dvorak donated to the Beseda brnenska Philharmonic Society, repeatedly went missing but is currently kept at the Moravian Museum in Brno.