Dvořák – String Quintet In E Flat Major / Cypresses


Dvořák must have felt a bit foolish when he rearranged his youthful song cycle from 1865 22 years later for string quartet and gave it to Josef Suk. He called them The echo of songs, but Suk and posterity named them Cypresses. That title is derived from the book where the lyrics of the original songs came from. A collection of 18 songs, a real song cycle in the style of Schubert, written to the poems of Gustav Pfleger Moravský. They were really written for the actress Josefina Cermáková his heartthrob when the composer was 24.

The short pieces are what one critic described as the effect of eating a whole box of chocolates. It is just too sweet for its own good. So the song cycle was never really successful, but the string quartet version is much more interesting. Five of the 12 pieces are presented here. I love the recording, I love these little miniatures and to my ears this is a good performance. In fact, I love it so much, I have the record two times, this time under the same catalogue number (So I won’t write about it tomorrow).

This whole composition is very much a family affair: the object of Dvořák infatuation later became his sister-in-law, and Josef Suk was his son-in-law, married to his daughter.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *