Although Dvoráks stay in America (189295) was very successful, the composer suffered a good deal from homesickness. He had begun the string quartet in A flat major in New York, but continued with it only after his return to Bohemia in December 1895. There is no trace of the influence of Indian or African-American music in this, his final chamber work; rather, the piece is striking for the amount of cantabile themes and motives, and their contrasting and artistic treatment. It seems that his relief at seeing his children and family again directly influenced the work. Dvorák himself wrote in a letter during its composition that Almighty God has granted us this cheerful moment, and thus we all feel unutterably happy. This Henle publication is the first Urtext edition of the quartet since 1955.
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