Sonatina for Violin and Piano in G major, Op. 100, B183
Burghauser catalogue number
Date of composition
19 November - 3 December 1893
Premiere - date and place
private performance: December 1893, New York
public performance: (?) 10 January 1896, Brno
private performance: Antonin Dvorak Jr., Otilie Dvorakova
public performance: (?) Rudolf Reissig, Marie Kuhlova-Jelinkova
Simrock, 1894, Berlin
Parts / movements
1. Allegro risoluto
3. Scherzo. Molto vivace
4. Finale. Allegro
approx. 20 min.
The Sonatina in G major was written in New York over a two-week period in late November and early December 1893 during the second school year of the composer’s tenure at the National Conservatory. Dvorak was aware of the fact that this was now his 100th opus (“officially” his 100th, since he had, in fact, written many more) and he decided to celebrate the fact “a la Dvorak”: he dedicated the work “to my little children”, as the dedication reads on the printed score. Above all to Otilie, who was learning the piano with Dvorak’s colleague from the Conservatoire, Adele Margulies, and Antonin, who was studying the violin with Josef Kovarik. Both children performed the sonatina in a private premiere.
The Sonatina in G major can probably be regarded as the most popular and most frequently performed work of the composer’s oeuvre for this combination of instruments. It is perhaps best described by Dvorak himself when he informed his publisher Simrock about the piece: “It is meant for young people, but also for adults, let them enjoy it, too, they’ll have fun playing it as well.” Both parts are indeed written fairly simply, and are not all that technically demanding. But the composer wasn’t going to make his own task too easy. Within the traditional form, the musical ideas are developed in a highly original way, involving intriguing deviations in the exposition of the individual themes. The mood of the sonata is light-hearted and invigorating, although we will catch a waft of melancholy at certain points. Like other works from Dvorak’s American period, the sonatina employs the pentatonic scale and syncopated rhythms, among others.