Rondo for Cello and Orchestra Op. 94 (Piano Reduction / Solo)
(b. Mühlhausen, 8 September 1841 – d. Prague, 1 May 1904)
Rondo for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 94
Antonín Dvořák’s Rondo for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 94 in g minor is a one-movement work originally composed for solo cello and piano. The work is one of three that Dvořák dedicated to Bohemian cellist Hanuš Wihan (1855-1920). Wihan premiered the work in Chrudim, Bohemia on 6 January 1892 where he was on a tour of the country with the composer, who served as a pianist for the concerts, and violinist Ferdinand Lachner. Dvořák, noting that there was no solo music on any of the programs to feature Wihan’s talents, composed the work and it is said that he wrote it in one day, on Christmas 1891.
One year later, in 1893, while working in New York City, Dvořák would rearrange the piano part of the work for a chamber orchestra comprised of two oboes, two bassoons, two timpani tuned in G and D, and strings. As Jan Smaczny has written in his monograph, Dvořák: Cello Concerto (1999: 12), this arrangement demonstrates the composer’s thought process about the most effective and appropriate instrumental combinations to play a piece that featured the cello as a solo instrument. The orchestral version is much more dramatic than the original version for cello and piano because of the new and interesting timbres that are presented by the orchestra. The piece is composed in a relatively high register for the instrument, one that exploits the cello’s ability to play song-like melodies in a lyrical manner. Wihan was known to have a penchant for playing trills in the instrument’s upper register, something that Dvořák exploited in the work’s composition. In all, this work highlights the player’s virtuosity.
This was one of Dvořák’s few compositions (at least in its reworking) to feature the cello with some semblance of an orchestra; despite Wihan’s request for a cello concerto, the composer maintained that concerti were not ideal vehicles to feature the cello because of the instrument’s need to project over a full orchestra, something that was beyond its natural acoustic capabilities. He felt that the cello was most suited to chamber music and orchestral music in which it was not featured as a solo instrument….
Read full preface to score > HERE