Humoresques Op. 101 (1894)
From 1892 to 1985, Dvorak held the post of Director of the National Conservatory in NewYork. During this time, he penned down many thematic notes in his sketch books, whicj were later to be used in various compositions. While in holiday in the summer of 1894, in his beloved summer home in Vysoká in Bohemia, he worked out some of these sketches into a cycle of 8 piano pieces. Initially, the cycle had no title yet. The composer considered naming them "New Scotch Dances" (after an earlier set of Ecossaises he wrote) but eventually settled for the title Humoresques. They were published as Op.101 in August of the same year by his Berlin publisher Simrock.
These delightful miniatures show Dvorak's ever-fresh inspiration at its best, and are notable for the influences of his 'American' period (for example, the theme of the fourth Humoresque was described by the composer as "Hiawatha's child theme", destined for an opera on that was never to materialize). The mood varies between gentle melancholy and blissful contentedness.
The seventh Humoresque in G Flat Major has become one of the most popular classical pieces in existence, and the publisher Simrock made vast amounts of money on it by publishing it separately in arrangements for all possible and impossible instruments and ensembles, even, in the U.S.A., in a version for choir.
|Humoresque No.7 in G flat major