9. Dumky

The dumka is a Eastern European phenomenon; it’s mostly Slav (though the Hungarians have a close relative in the csárdás). It consists, musically, of a alternation between a slow (frequently melancholy) opening followed by a fast, lively dance-like section, both of which may be repeated – simplicity itself!

It’s rather surprising then that, for the last of his four piano trios, the classically, sonata-orientated Dvořák should turn to a form(?) that’s almost the antithesis of the idea of symphonic development, writing a piece that not only contains dumky but consists solely of six of them!

Dvořák: Dumky Trio,
Op. 90

I. Lento maestoso –
Allegro vivace, quasi doppio movimento
II. Poco adagio –
Vivace non troppo
III. Andante – Vivace non troppo –
Andante – Allegretto
IV. Andante moderato (Quasi tempo di marcia) –
Allegretto scherzando – Meno mosso –
Allegro – Moderato
V. Allegro 24:38
VI. Lento maestoso – Vivace, quasi movimento –
Lento – Vivace


An interesting example of role reversal: Dvořák becomes very Czech for his piano trio while Smetana (the nationalist), for his, produces a impassioned but traditionally shaped work.

It’s an elegiac piece, written in memory of his eldest daughter, Bedřiška, who had died of scarlet fever.

Smetana: Trio in g,
Op. 15

00:22 Moderato assai
11:51 Allegro ma non agitato
19:25 Presto


Dvořák: Eighth Symphony in G

After the venture across into international territory that is the Seventh Symphony. Dvořák returns home to his native Bohemia with the pastoral spirit and folk-like melodies of his Eighth. Melodies are everywhere but, unlike his early symphonies, where the melodies themselves seemed to run the show, here it’s the mature composer who’s in charge, directing and placing his lyrical ideas with a masterly touch:

Allegro con brio 00:28
Adagio 10:36
Allegretto grazioso – Molto vivace 22:05
Allegro, ma non troppo 28:00


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