Silent Woods

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Painting by Alex Katsenelson

Lately I’ve been completely consumed by the music of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. I recently shared his New World Symphony and Cello Concerto. The piece that has gripped my soul and won’t let go is called “Silent Woods.” It is part of the collection called From the Bohemian Forest (Bohemia is an area in what is now called the Czech Republic).

Dvorak was not a big fan of cello. Originally he wrote “Silent Woods” for piano. But the piece became very populator, and he transcribed it for cello. I implore you to listen to the piano piece first and then only to cello. For some reason the piano version, though great, doesn’t do what the cello version does to me – grabs by soul and turns it upside down and makes all the investment nonsense I write about seem so insignificant.

What do you think?

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Antonin Dvorak


  • Randy Borden says:

    Thanks for that. While I know the New World and the Cello Concerto I don’t know Silent Woods. I agree, the cello version is best.

  • You are right ! It has to be with cello ! the tone is much fuller and warmer then the piano . And in those who played I found the most beautiful version with Trul Mork .His play was really soulful and made me almost cry !

    • Rick Rossi says:

      I agree with you about Trul Mork being the most beautiful version. His depth of emotion is quite amazing. Truly soulful from beginning to end. The subtlety of his phrasing is pure mastery. He makes you feel every emotion in the piece without ever making you aware of how difficult it is technically to do what he’s doing. Absolutely beautiful!

  • Douglas Swinford says:

    I also believe the cello is the more desirable instrument for the beautiful piece of music 🎶

  • the piano is my favorite instrument, then the oboe, and so the cello,– so there was no competition here. the piano version allows you to use your own imagination, whereas the cello version does it for you.

  • Jim Swan says:

    I’m not sure why you say that Dvorak was not a big fan of the cello. As I recall he was a professional orchestra cellist before he began composing.

  • Deborah Kramer says:

    As a pianist, I feel I should like the piano version best but the cello clearly wins! All of these performances are lovely but I think I like two more than the others: Mischa Maisky’s for the subtlety and pathos of his rendition and Yo-Yo Ma’s for the purity of his tone and technique throughout. I think the legato nature of this piece cries out for a stringed instrument and the cello’s deep resonant tones are a far better choice than the violin or viola to make our souls resonate with this music. The octaves in the piano treble part just won’t accomplish the same feeling of singing from the heart.

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