Song Number 91

I have been busy all day long, finishing up the list of 100 classical songs. As I toil away, the rain falls outside.

Song number 91 was written by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) and is titled Humoresque.

This is another song by the same composer, it is called New World Symphony:

Humoresques, Op. 101 (B. 187), is a piano cycle by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, written during the summer of 1894. One writer says “the seventh Humoresque is probably the most famous small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s Für Elise.”

During his stay in United States, when Dvořák was director of the Conservatory in New York from 1892 to 1895, the composer collected many interesting musical themes in his sketchbooks. He used some of these ideas in other compositions, notably the “New World” Symphony, the “American” String Quartet, the Quintet in E♭ Major, and the Sonatina for Violin, but some remained unused.

In 1894 Dvořák spent the summer with his family in Bohemia, at Vysoká u Příbrami. During this “vacation”, Dvořák began to use the collected material and to compose a new cycle of short piano pieces. On 19 July 1894 Dvořák sketched the first Humoresque in B major, today number 6 in the cycle. However, the composer soon started to create scores for the pieces that were intended to be published. The score was completed on 27 August 1894.

The cycle was entitled Humoresques shortly before Dvořák sent the score to his German publisher F. Simrock. The composition was published by Simrock in Autumn, 1894.

The publisher took advantage of the great popularity of the seventh Humoresque to produce arrangements for many instruments and ensembles. The piece was later also published as a song with various lyrics. It has also been arranged for choir. The German vocal group The Comedian Harmonists released it on record as Eine kleine Frühlingsweise in 1930 with lyrics by Hans Lengsfelder. The melody was used in the 1982 American Emmy Award-winning animated musical television special and crossover The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat during the restaurant scene. The melody was also used as the theme of Slappy Squirrel in the popular animated television show Animaniacs. In 2004 the vocal group Beethoven’s Wig used Humoresque as the basis for a song entitled Dvořák the Czechoslovak.

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MY SUMMER HOME

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