Even more than to its original founder, Smetana, Czech Music owes its rapid ascent as an artistic contribution of paramount importance to his most successful contemporary and follower, Antonin Dvorak (1841 -1904). Already in his later thirties, and with little more than a narrowly limited local reputation, Dvorak came quite suddenly into the limelight through the efforts of his publisher, Simrock, to whom Brahms had recommended him warmly.
Only a few years later, Dvorak was one of the most successful composers in Europe. Rarely
has an artist's star fiared up with such sudden lustre and rarely ever had a composer reaped the rewards of worldwide fame with such perfect simplicity and unconcern. There is not a touch of selfconscious analysis, of intellectual brooding, in him. He is a naive inventor like Schubert whom he loved and admired.
His creative work comprises all branches of music, but it cannot be said that his contribution is equally important in every one. Nor has everything he wrote survived in full freshness and effectiveness. But his truly inspired creations have firmly established themselves in the international standard repertory. Among these may be counted many of his smaller compositions such as songs, dances, pianoforte pieces, and certainly his precious orchestral works and chamber music. Here he reveals himself on every page as an inventor of inexhaustible imagination, true originality and unfading loveliness of melody.
In spite of its high Opus Number, due to much later publication, the String Quintet in G major, Op. 77, is a comparatively early work, written in 1875. But it shows already the composer on the height of his mastery and in his own, most personal style of invention and texture. In the scanty repertory of chamber music employing a double bass, this work is certainly one of the most rewarding and distinguished. The specific advantage the structure gains by the use of the uncommon instrument is the changed function of the violoncello, exposing this in its most lovely quality as a tenor of the ensemble. Of the four movements, the Scherzo and Andante are especially exquisite both in sound and in melody.