Benjamin Pesetsky composer and writer

Sonatina in D Minor, Op. 27

Zdeněk Fibich (1850–1900)

Program notes for Jiazhi Wang, violin recital, Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, March 28, 2017
Not to be reprinted without permission

© Benjamin Pesetsky 2019

Zdeněk Fibich was born in Bohemia to a Czech father and an Austrian mother and enjoyed a rustic upbringing in the countryside where his father worked as a forestry official. After studies in Leipzig, Paris, and Mannheim, he embarked on a successful, if not illustrious career, producing nine operas and taking theater and liturgical posts, supplemented with private teaching.

Fibich’s music often echoes the folk music of his youth, but is presented in a refined Romantic style distinct from the grand Czech nationalism of Dvořákand Smetana. The Sonatina in D Minor, written in 1869, is representative: the opening Allegro moderato is melancholy and instantly memorable, like a rough-hewn fiddle tune polished to a luster. The brief Andante could be a lullaby, its harmony and rhythm reminiscent of the Austrian side of Fibich’s heritage. The sprightly Allegro molto echoes the first movement, but with fresh humor and feistiness added to the mix.

Benjamin Pesetsky composer and writer