n this collection, Gerluz presents the music of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak.
Beginning with the five movements of Dvorak's "Serenade for Strings Opus 22" that have been transcribed for a two piano duet,
Followed by the eight Humoresques.
Gerluz writes: I have always found comfort in the music of Antonin Dvorak, he is lyrical & dynamic. Wherever I have travelled I have found people who loved his music. Once I was wintering over in Corsica, playing for tips as I travelled around the island. It is an island of small, beautiful beaches and unexpected vistas.
One Friday evening I was in a small farming village. It was late and a rather large patron bouldered in. He had more drinking to do and was intent on having his fill. There is little new in these small places, all of the folk knew the actor and the script that was soon to be played. The seating was adjusted accordingly. I had been playing jingle-jangle tunes. The kind of stuff that keeps people talking excitedly and enjoying themselves. The big fella kept on going along, getting louder and more active. I knew that if he got out of hand the tips would stop. I decided to change pace and play one of Dvorak's better known small pieces, the Humoresque No. 7. It is a quieter piece than what I had been playing, I thought if he didn't talk so loud to be heard he would slow down.
I hadn't played more than half of the first phrase when he stopped, turned and walked to the piano. He firmly, but gently moved the person from the seat closest to the piano. He sat and listened to the whole song as the whole room watched in wonder. When I finished he applauded and talked at me rapidly. My French was not too good and his thick Corsican accent was unintelligible to me. but I understood when he slowly pronounced "Dvorak" and nodded his head, pointing to the piano saying "more, more." I played everything I knew of Dvorak that night, a few pieces more than twice. By closing time the villagers had seen a new side of their town bull, my new friend Giovanni. And my tips were pretty good that night.
Serenade for Strings
Antonin Dvorak wrote the Serenade for Strings, Opus 22 in 1875. He was 34 at the time, he had been married for two years and had recently taken a job as the Organist at St. Adalbert's Church in Prague. For the first time in his life his employment provided him enough money & enough free time to focus on composing. It was a prolific period for Dvorak I the Serenade for Strings was just one composition from the period.
What you can listen to here is The Serenade for Strings that has been transcribed for two pianos by Grant Groberg. It is a somewhat different rendering. the dynamic capabilities of a piano are quite different from that of a violin. A violin can be plucked or bowed in different ways. A note on the violin can be sustained and crescendo during the sustain. Where a piano string is only struck & then decays.
The two pianos in the recording are arrayed left-right, flipped around so that the bass strings for each are in the center of the sound stage. And of course the performance is best over headphones