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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Nationalist Era > Symphony No. 3 in D Major. Op. 60 - Dvorák

Symphony No. 3 in D Major. Op. 60

Antonín Dvorák

1. Allegro non tanto.
2. Adagio.
3. Scherzo (Furiant).
4. Finale. Allegro con spirito.

Dvorák's Third Symphony was written in 1884, and was also his first published work. Notwithstanding its essentially Slavic character the regular symphonic form is not modified any particular.

The first movement contains a rich display of musical ideas in its group of themes. The prelude to the opening theme is divided between the wind instruments, basses, and bassoons, and after four bars the subject is reached; but the key soon changes and a vigorous interruption occurs, after which the theme returns in the original time with a brilliant forte passage in the brasses. Its stay in transient, however, and the interruption occurs, vivacious in its character, which leads up to the introduction to the second theme -- a thoroughly unique melody given out by the cellos and horns, with a picturesque string accompaniment. A duet for oboe and bassoon follows, with a melodious figure in accompaniment in the second violins and violas, and a long-sustained tone in the first violins. The theme is then repeated by full orchestra, after which all the ideas of the movement, of which there are no less than six distinct ones, are worked out in the orthodox form.

The second movement is rich in color, though gentle and dreamy in its sentiment. After a short prelude, as in the first movement, the first theme is given out by the strings with accompaniment in the wind instruments. After a short episode we reach the second part of the theme, taken by the flutes, with a refrain by the oboes. The key then changes, and another short episode leads back to the original key and principal subject. Another episode, developed from the materials of this theme, occurs and is followed by the Coda, in which there is a characteristic cello solo.

The third movement gives a national character to the whole symphony. It is marked "Furiant," and is in form and substance almost identical with the Slavonic dances, so many of which Dvorák has arranged. Its opening theme is fresh, piquant, and spirited, and is repeated over and over to a wild and furious accompaniment, punctuated and emphasized with all the strange accents and unusual rhythms that characterize the Bohemian and Hungarian music. The excitement reaches its climax in the Trio, in which the flutes and strings, pizzicato, carry the melody, and the piccolo gives it the genuine Slavic color. The second theme of the trio is broader and more dignified in style, and at its close the Scherzo is repeated and ends this stirring movement.

The last movement is made up of simple Bohemian melodies, treated in the most vigorous style. The opening theme is given out by the strings and clarinets, and with constantly accelerating tempo dashes on with a second theme for oboes and horns, which grows fairly furious when taken by the whole orchestra and yet shows humorous features in the peculiar entrances of the horns and trombones. The Coda opens with the first theme set forth by the horns and violas, and is developed with great skill. The movement comes to an end with a brilliant and vigorous Presto.

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See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

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