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psalm 149

opus number
Burghauser catalogue number
91, 154 
13 January - 24 February 1879 
premiere - date and place
16 March 1879, Prague
premiere - performer(s)
Hlahol of Prague, conductor Karel Knittl 
The Book of Psalms
instrumentation 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones,
1 tuba, timpani, violins, violas, cellos, double basses + mixed choir
approx. 10 min. 


At the beginning of 1879 Dvorak was approached by the Hlahol choral society with the request that he write a new choral work. The composer put his work on his String Quartet in E flat major to one side and started writing his piece for Hlahol. From the Book of Psalms he chose No. 149, writing a setting for male choir with orchestral accompaniment. The text of his psalm is akin to a hymn in praise of God, which is also reflected in Dvorak’s conception – the entire work is ceremonial and jubilant in mood. When, eight years on, Dvorak was revising earlier pieces he had not yet published, he decided to rework his Psalm to some extent as well. Apart from minor alterations in the orchestral score, the chief revision concerned the choral parts, which he rewrote for mixed choir. It was in this definitive form that the piece was published by Simrock in 1888.
public notice
announcing the premiere