Dvořák – Serenade for strings [analysis] – PART 1: movements 1 and 2

Last updated Jan 30, 2024 | Published on Dec 17, 2020

Winner of a fellowship at the Bayreuther Festspiele, Mr. Griglio’s conducting has been praised for his “energy” and “fine details”. Mr. Griglio took part in the first world recording of music by composer Irwin Bazelon and conducted several world premieres like "The song of Eddie", by Harold Farberman, a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize. Principal Conductor of International Opera Theater Philadelphia for four years, Mr.Griglio is also active as a composer. His first opera, Camille Claudel, debuted in 2013 to a great success of audience and critics. Mr. Griglio is presently working on an opera on Caravaggio and Music Director of Opera Odyssey.
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Table of contents

Introduction

1875, the year in which the Serenade for strings op.22 was written, was quite an intense one for Dvořák. It’s the year that marks his 5th symphony, the 2nd string quintet, and the famous Moravian duets among other works. Dvořák was beginning to be recognized as a composer which eased his mind of financial burdens.

Apparently, the serenade for strings was written in less than a couple of weeks, and was premiered in Prague in 1876.

The work holds for the most part that same spirit of an outdoor evening we recognized in Elgar’s serenade.

Scheherazade by Édouard Frédéric Wilhelm Richter (1844-1913)

Antonín Dvořák in 1882 

Antonín Dvořák: an analysis of the Serenade for strings – Mov. 1 and 2

First movement: Moderato

In case you don’t have it at hand, here’s a quick link to the score.

The first movement smells of a serene night in late spring, with a lovely breeze. It’s in an ABA structure, beginning with a delicate theme that – just like with Elgar’s piece – will come back in the last movement.
Played by the second violins, it’s accompanied by a gentle pulsing of the violas, while the cellos answer in the second bar

Dvorak - Serenade for strings - Mov.1 - ex.1
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Gianmaria Griglio is an intelligent, exceptional musician. There is no question about his conducting abilities: he has exceptionally clear baton technique that allows him to articulate whatever decisions he has made about the music.

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