Symphony No. 2 (Dvořák)

The Symphony No. 2 in B- flat major, Op 4 is a symphony of the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák.


The work was written in 1865, the same year as Dvořák's Symphony No. 1. At the time of origin of the symphony the composer remained unrequited love for his piano pupil Josefina Čermáková, whose sister Anna he later married. Under this impression of unhappy love, the symphony expresses a struggle and joining in fate.

About the Music


2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, strings

1st movement: Allegro con moto

The first movement is marked with its sweeping harmonies of an " endless melody " within the meaning of Richard Wagner. Nevertheless, two main themes can be recognized. The first begintt hesitantly in the strings and develops over a tutti supported by the timpani to a moving flowing motif. The second theme first appears in the woodwinds and I can in some rhapsodic symphonic events delimit difficult. The set closes with a moving coda, which receives the second theme.

2nd movement: Poco adagio

The second sentence expresses with his notturnoartigen character most of the dependence on fate. Its gentle instrumentation and melody to be interrupted by some dramatic moments. So the beginning of the sentence is not only peaceful, but at the same time, by moving the embellishments chords in the strings, threatening. Then the main theme flows wide in the strings and then develops slowly. The cellos are still many cases the task of the melodic structure to what is typical of Dvořák. The longest movement of the symphony closes after a few dramatic outbursts peaceful with a chord in the woodwinds.

3rd movement: Scherzo, Allegro con brio

The pastoral third movement contains echoes of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. It is untypical of the scherzo movement of Dvořák's symphonies. The subject matter is rather subdued and not as dance- happy and popular as usual. The slowly evolving main theme is eventually repeated in the orchestral tutti and performed with trumpet fanfare to an optimistic climax. The subsequent central part contains most popular items, with a light theme in the woodwinds. The set closes slowly and behave according to the repetition of the scherzo part.

4th movement: Finale, Allegro con fuoco

The finale is the artistic highlight of the Symphony dar. After use in the "wrong" key of A major, follows a moving main theme in B- flat major. Shortly thereafter, provides the cello in loftier size, accompanied by Streicherpizzicati, a second The vocal theme before. The following musical course which again does not run completely by sonata form, but often take rhapsodic form, the first theme is preferred. It is processed manifold. The forward-pressing action ends in a triumphant coda, which gives a jubilant end of the symphony.


After completion of the symphony Dvořák wanted to print the work, but realized that it lacked the financial resources for this purpose. The work once lay still until many years later Dvořák already successfully worked with the publisher Fritz Simrock, and remembered the forgotten work. The symphony was printed and the world premiere took place on March 11, 1888, over 20 years after its creation. Adolf Čech conducted the orchestra of the Prague National Theatre. The work was received largely positive.

The second symphony is one of the early, half-baked works of the master. Nevertheless, already can be identified many typical traits Dvořákscher symphonic and a skill for the mastery of symphonic form. The work belongs to the rare today, although Dvořák symphonies listed, yet enjoys not a low popularity.


  • Christoph Hahn, Sigmar Hohl ( ed.), Bertelsmann concert guide, Bertelsmann Lexikon Verlag, Gütersloh / Munich 1993, ISBN 3-570-10519-9
  • Haren mountain concert guide, Haren mountain communication, Dortmund, 1998, ISBN 3-611-00535-5