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Wind Music

Rhapsodies Op. 45, No. 3

Antonin Dvorak

arranged by Tony Turrill

2Fl.; Fl./picc; 2Ob.;Cor; 2Cl.;Bass Cl./Cl; 2Bsn.;Contra; 2Hn

 

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because of its length and complexity THIS was not the first OF THE THREE  arrangementS  to be tackled but IT nevertheless started it all. The late Alan Hacker WAS REFLECTING ON THE DAYS BEFORE THE INCIDENT THAT PARALYSED HIM AND ENDED HIS ORCHESTRAL CAREER.  HE FONDLY REMEMBERED THE SLAVONIC rHAPSODIES. They WERE A POPULAR ITEM IN his orchestra’s REPERTOIRE, ESPECIALLY NO. 3.  HE ALWAYS  ENJOYED THE WAY AFTER A RATHER VIGOROUS TUTTI THE TWIN CLARINETS INTRODUCE THE FINAL GENTLe surprise at  bar 452  and suggested all three could be suitably set for a large wind ensemble

In its orginal format this Rhapsody opens with a gentle passage for the harp, perhaps the prelude to some slovak folksong. dvorak then continues with the same melody still played andante but now by the woodwind. This arrangement attempts to create the same atmosphere but perforce must replace the harp.  it uses a combination that  dvorak might have approved, the opening melody being played by a cor anglais accompanied by a pianissimo trio of two clarinets and a bass clarinet.

at bar 41, once the tempo increases and Dvorak develops the melody, the music becomes more dramatic and the full forces of the 14 wind instruments can at times be deployed.  It is not until bar 161 that a dance like second melody appears. The developMENT of these two melodies then forms the basis for the next 300 or so bars; a mixture of striking contrasts, at times almost violent, at times returning to the peaceful nature of the opening.  It has then seemed for a while that the composer is working up to a  series of crashing chords that will bring the work to a dramatic conclusion. in fact, at bar 351 he builds an impressive double forte sequence of fanfares that however introduce not a conclusion but the first peaceful andante melody: Nevertheless, he soon returns to the allegro version quickly followed by the lively dance and an anticipation that the inevitable conclusion will soon follow when, to the listener’s surprise and the late Alan Hacker’s delight,  the clarinets introduce one of the most jolly little melodies that dvorak ever wrote. He develops this for another 40 bars leading eventually to a final quiet and peaceful statement of the opening that builds again to a number of crashing chords that surely this time must lead to the grand finale.  So they do but there is a final twist; the last dozen bars are based on the third melody played andante and pianissimo until the two final chords. 

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make a note of the  ref. no. NM2063; used with the composer and title it will help identify the work 

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