Dvořák Ballade, Op.15

Written late in 1884 shortly after he completed his Seventh Symphony, the Ballade was written for a Christmas edition of the London Magazine of Music. Written in the brooding key of D minor it is another example of Dvořák’s genius in devising small scale works of incredible emotional depth. The outer sections are characterised the almost constant crotchet movement of gloomy chords in the piano while the violin spins a haunting melody much higher in the register. The central Allegro agitato offers contrast in the form of a brief, virtuosic, almost angry explosion with cascading arpeggio figures in the piano and dramatic, declamatory gestures in the violin. The final section returns to the brooding opening material but with more extensively suppressed dynamic. The piece finishes with an almost imperceptible ascent into ethereal silence.

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