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Another Dvorak Cello Concerto?

xxxxxxx did some more digging on the rumored other Dvorak Concerto. Below is what he found out:

According to Elizabeth Cowling's book, 'The Cello,' "Dvorak wrote an earlier cello concerto in A Major in 1865, which he had written out with only a sketchy piano accompaniment and never did orchestrate. It was rediscovered in 1925. Clapham, commenting on Gunter Raphael's attempt to complete the work, which was then published, says, in view of his extended alterations...'it would be more accurate to describe it as reshaped and newly composed."

... and from some liner notes in Midlo Sadlo's recording on the Artia label:

"Concerto in A Major dates from the period of Dvorak's engagement as a violist in the Provisional Theatre Orchestra. The assumption that the work was motivated primarily by his friendship with the cellist Ludevit Peer appears to be well-founded. After all, the work, with only piano accompaniment in the 1865 version, is dedicated to Peer and it was Peer who took it abroad. The manuscript was not discovered until after the First World War, and is now in the British Museum in London. Breitkopf and Hartel of Leipzig published the score in 1929, but Gunther Raphael, the editor dealt with it with a rather heavy hand, changing the structure to no mean extent by excluding certain parts and adding others composed by himself. More recently, Prof. Milos Sadlo did some minor retouching, resorting to major changes only by letting other instruments of the orchestra take over some of the figurations from the cello, which, in Dvorak's original version, was supposed to play almost continuously. The new orchestration, in the spirit of Dvorak's style of the time, is by Jamil Burhgauser.

"The three-movement composition actually flows without interruption. The composer was not completely successful in his attempt at a grand symphonic work there is a lack of balance of form, and verbosity in some places. Nevertheless, there is much more to the work than merely historic interest, and - in the interest of justice - one must say that this is an attractively daring attempt to produce a concertante composition for the cello, neglected until then, as a solo instrument by prominent composers. The score shows that Dvorak was perfectly aware of the technical and sound potential of the instrument, and even now the work does not fail to fascinate with its emotional vigour and inventive melodic line.

"-- Jaroslav Holecek 1977"

Tim Janof

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Tim Janof, ICS Director
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