When Dvorák wrote his Serenade for 10 winds and 2 lower strings in January 1878, the heyday of the great wind serenades and “Harmoniemusik” wind ensembles was already long gone. He was probably inspired by hearing Mozart's Gran Partita shortly beforehand in Vienna. The home key of d minor here is striking, as is the often serious, even tragic atmosphere that repeatedly darkens the otherwise cheerful mood that is typical of the serenade genre. Perhaps this was a reaction to the death of two of his children just a few months earlier. Despite the work's dramatic character - or perhaps because of it - Dvorák's Serenade was taken up in many European cities soon after its first performance in Prague, and fêted as a significant contribution to the chamber music repertoire for wind instruments. The autograph sources in Prague have been consulted for this Urtext edition. The parts are printed with player-friendly page divisions, perfect page-turning opportunities, and practical alternative parts in F for the three horns.
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