Dvořák’s Humoresque in G-flat Major: Ignaz Friedman and Art Tatum

Antonín Dvořák was one of the greatest composers of melody.

Perhaps the most catchy and popularly enduring example is the Humoresque No. 7 in G-flat Major (Poco lento e grazioso), originally written for solo piano. Propelled forward by an infectious, lilting rhythm, the melody develops in two-note steps which ascend gradually and explore a variety of motivic combinations before sinking into repose at the end of the phrase. As with much of the music which emerged from Dvořák’s American sketchbooks, the initial pitches outline the pentatonic scale. They evoke a sense of longing and nostalgia and celebrate the inflections of Czech folk music.

This iconic piece comes from a collection of eight Humoresques, Op. 101,  which Dvořák composed during the summer of 1894. Rather than overt humor, the title suggests a brief, “whimsical or fanciful musical composition.”

This performance by the Polish pianist, Ignaz Friedman, was recorded on December 1, 1936:

The American jazz pianist, Art Tatum, put his own virtuosic and swinging stamp on the Humoresque:


  • Dvořák: Humoresque No. 7 in G-flat Major, Op. 101, No. 7, Ignaz Friedman Amazon
  • Dvořák/Tatum: Humoresque, Art Tatum Amazon

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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