In Folk Tone, Op. 73, B146

Opus number


Burghauser catalogue number


Date of composition

completed 13 September 1886

Premiere - date and place

Nos. 1 and 3: 14 November 1886, Prague

Premiere performer(s)

Nos. 1 and 3: Tereza Arklová + ?

First edition

Simrock, 1887, Berlin


Folk poems

Parts / movements

1. Good night, my darling (Dobrú noc, má milá)
2. When a maiden was mowing (Žalo dievča, žalo trávu)
3. Nothing can change (Ach není, není tu)
4. I have a faithful mare (Ej, mám já koňa faku)


approx. 11 min.

The cycle known as In Folk Tone was commissioned by Dvořák’s main publisher, Fritz Simrock. The composer’s surviving correspondence tells us that Dvořák 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). Dvořák only took certain elements from the original folk melodies, which he then expanded with his own melodic, harmonic and rhythmical ideas to create true “Dvořákian” 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.