Romance for Violin and Orchestra in F minor, Op. 11, B39
Burghauser catalogue number
Date of composition
Premiere - date and place
9 December 1877, Prague
Josef Markus, "Filharmonie" Orchestra, conductor Adolf Čech
Simrock, 1879, Berlin
2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, violins, violas, cellos, double basses + violin solo
approx. 12 min.
Romance in F minor originated as a reworking of the introductory part of the second movement of the composer’s String Quartet No. 5 in F minor, written in 1873. In addition to this segment, which became the main theme in the compositional structure of Romance, Dvořák added two new themes, treating them in traditional sonata form. The date of the composition isn’t entirely certain – according to the latest findings of musicologist David R. Beveridge, it appears to have been written in the same year as the above-mentioned quartet. The work was first performed by the leader of the Provisional Theatre Orchestra, Josef Markus, as part of the programme for the annual concert organised by the Pension Association Theatre Orchestra and Choir, which was held at Prague’s Žofín on 9 December 1877. Dvořák also wrote an arrangement of Romance with piano accompaniment, a version he dedicated to his friend, the violin virtuoso František Ondříček. Romance has exceptionally beautiful melodies and its orchestral version is also graceful and temperate. For these qualities it has become one of the most popular compositions of its type. Its orchestral version (and also a piano arrangement of the accompaniment by Josef Zubatý) was brought out by Simrock in 1879; Dvořák’s version with piano was only published in 2015, by Bärenreiter Praha.