The Slavonic Dances (Czech: Slovanské tance) are a
series of 16 orchestral pieces composed by Antonín
Dvořák in 1878 and 1886 and published in two sets
as Opus 46 and Opus 72 respectively. Originally written
for piano four hands, the Slavonic Dances were inspired
by Johannes Brahms's own Hungarian Dances and were
orchestrated at the request of Dvořák's publisher
soon after composition. The pieces, lively and overtly
nationalistic, were well received at the time and today
are among the composer's most memorable works,
occasionally making appearances in popular culture.
The Op. 46 set is listed in the Burghauser catalogue as
B.78 in the original piano four hand version, and as
B.83 in the orchestral version. The Op. 72 set is
catalogued as B.145 in the piano four hand version, and
as B.147 in the orchestral version.
Prior to the publication of the Slavonic Dances, Op.
46, Dvořák was a relatively unknown composer.
Because of this fact, he had applied for the Austrian
State Music Prize scholarship in order to fund his
compositional work. After he won the prize 3 times in 4
years (1874, 1876-77), Johannes Brahms, as one of the
members of the committee responsible for awarding the
scholarship, referred Dvořák to his own publisher,
Fritz Simrock. The first of Dvořák's music to be
published by Simrock was the Moravian Duets, which
attained widespread success; encouraged, Simrock asked
the composer to write something with a dance-like