Antonín Dvořák was headed to America, but before departing his Czech homeland for the New World, he signed up for a 40-concert “farewell” tour of his native land with two of the biggest stars of his time: violinist Ferdinand Lachner, and cellist Hanuš Wihan (for whom Dvořák would later compose his iconic Cello Concerto.)
Then the question was… what was this “power trio” going to play? For starters, the great Dumky Trio. For the rest, Dvořák dipped into his back catalog to come up with some fresh arrangements for his band mates.
And so it came to pass that in late December 1891, the composer put the finishing touches on a piano piece we had written a decade before into a new work for cello and piano called Silent Woods. The serene, contemplative work was such a hit that Dvořák later made a version for cello and orchestra.
So we think that Dvořák would have approved that when our Heifetz Holiday Tour troupe needed some new material for its December tour, guitarist and arranger Julia Egan transformed this timeless work into a striking duet for viola and guitar. Check out the captivating performance by this unique combination of instruments, in the masterful hands of violist Andrew Gonzalez and guitarist Robby Brown, on stage at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse!
Dvořák’s “Farewell Trio” from 1891: (from left) Violinist Ferdinand Lachner, Dvořák and cellist Hanuš Wihan. (Courtesy AKG images)