Three Nocturnes for Orchestra (No. 2 "May Night"), B31

Opus number


Burghauser catalogue number


Date of composition

May Night: 1872

Premiere - date and place

May Night: 30 March 1873, Prague

Premiere performer(s)

May Night: 'Filharmonie' orchestra, conductor: Ludvík Slanský

Of the three nocturnes for orchestra, only one has survived in its entirety, the Nocturne in B major, which arose as the reworking of the slow movement of String Quartet No. 4 in E minor. Of the second Nocturne, subtitled May Night, only the string parts have survived. May Night was first performed in Prague at Žofín Palace, performed by the “Filharmonie” Orchestra under the direction of conductor Ludvík Slanský on 30 March 1873, to resounding success. According to one critic, “the first impression upon hearing the Nocturne was one of surprise – such that only a work of unparalleled class and merit could engender. We sense that the breath of a genius fans our temples, an inner exhilaration we only experience the moment a new phenomenon of beauty encounters us. An individual of true worth has appeared on the horizon and our domestic musical environment may congratulate itself upon his discovery.” The third orchestral nocturne is now missing.