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the song of a czech 

opus number
Burghauser catalogue
November 1877 (?) 
premiere - date and place
premiere - performer(s)
Frantisek Jaroslav Vacek-Kamenicky 
approx. 4 min. 


The Song of a Czech was written for unaccompanied male choir and set to a patriotic poem by Frantisek Jaroslav Vacek-Kamenicky. While the poem has five stanzas, Dvorak worked with only three of them, which might create the impression that the surviving autograph is merely an incomplete fragment. The manuscript has no date, but the work probably originated at the end of 1877, during a period when Dvorak was focusing mainly on choral writing. One particular detail is worthy of note, namely the setting for the words “This is where I learned to know God”, which corresponds melodically (although not rhythmically) with the melody of the Hussite hymn “Ye Who Are Warriors of God”. It is not known whether the work was ever performed in public; the song only came out in print after the composer’s death, published in 1921 by the artists’ association Umelecka beseda in its Hudebni matice edition.