In Folk Tone, Op. 73, B146
Burghauser catalogue number
Date of composition
completed 13 September 1886
Premiere - date and place
Nos. 1 and 3: 14 November 1886, Prague
Nos. 1 and 3: Tereza Arklova + ?
Simrock, 1887, Berlin
Parts / movements
1. Good night, my darling (Dobru noc, ma mila)
2. When a maiden was mowing (Zalo dievca, zalo travu)
3. Nothing can change (Ach, neni tu, neni)
4. I have a faithful mare (Ej, mam ja kona faku)
approx. 11 min.
The cycle known as In Folk Tone was commissioned by Dvorak’s main publisher, Fritz Simrock. The composer’s surviving correspondence tells us that Dvorak had been promising to write a cycle of songs to folk texts since the spring of 1885, but he only got round to the task in September of the following year. Among other things, the reason for the delay was that, for a long time, he had been unable to find any suitable texts for his musical setting. In his words, “everything good has already been set to music”. In the end, he decided to write new settings to the texts of three Slovak songs (“Good night, my darling”, “When a maiden was mowing” and “I have a faithful mare”) and one Czech song (“Nothing can change”). Dvorak only took certain elements from the original folk melodies, which he then expanded with his own melodic, harmonic and rhythmical ideas to create true “Dvorakian” song miniatures. The songs are an eloquent example of the composer’s mastery in the idealisation of folk music and its supreme stylisation using wide-ranging compositional techniques. The cycle was completed on 13 September 1886 and published the following year by Simrock, both with the original texts and in their German and English translations.