My Home, Op. 62, B125a
Burghauser catalogue number
Date of composition
21 January – 23 January 1882
Premiere - date and place
3 February 1882, Prague
Provisional Theatre Orchestra, conductor Adolf Čech
Simrock, 1882, Berlin
2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, triangle, violins, violas, cellos, double basses
approx. 10 min.
The overture My Home is part of a programme of incidental music which Dvořák wrote at the request of the management of the Provisional Theatre to accompany the play by František Ferdinand Šamberk, Josef Kajetán Tyl. Šamberk’s play, depicting the beginnings of Czech theatre and the life of dramatist Josef Kajetán Tyl, is intensely patriotic, a fact also reflected in the stage music: It was Šamberk’s wish that, towards the end of each act, the audience would hear music derived from the themes of the song Where is my home? (today the Czech national anthem), whose text was the work of Tyl himself. In addition to several passages of melodramatic music and two intermezzos, Dvořák also wrote an overture to the play, the only one still occasionally performed as a separate concert piece. The overture was published independently by the Berlin-based firm Simrock under the title Mein Heim (My Home).
This piece is structured as a classical overture with a slow introduction, followed by a regular sonata-allegro form. Dvořák works with just two musical ideas; one of these is the song Where is my home? which, thanks to its lyrical character, takes the place of the second subject. For his main subject, the composer chose the highly contrastive melody of the Czech folk song In our courtyard yonder (perhaps a reference to Tyl’s play The Bagpiper of Strakonice in which the song figures). While, during the course of the work, the melody of the song Where is my home? initially appears as a suggestion in various melodic, harmonic and rhythmic mutations, in the coda it is given centre stage in the form of a victory march of sorts, aided by impressive instrumentation and imaginative counter-voices.