Antonín Dvorák composed his String Quartet No. 11 in C major, Op. 61, B. 121, some time between late October and early November 1881 to ful ll a commission from the Hellmesberger Quartet. In October, 1881 Dvorák nished the sketches for his new opera Dimitrij, when he learned in the Vienna newspapers, that the Hellmesberger Quartet is proposing the performance of his new string quartet in December 1881. He was thus forced to interrupt the work on the opera, and began to compose a quartet. The composition was supposed to premiere on 15 December 1881 in Ringtheater, but because of the catastrophic con agration in the building of Ringtheater the performance was postponed. It isn't known today when the rst performance occurred. The Czech premi?re took place on 5 January, 1884; the quartet was played by Ferdinand Lachner, Julius Rauer, Josef Krehan and Alois Neruda. The composition consists of four movements: Allegro Poco adagio et molto cantabile Allegro vivo Finale. Vivace. Dvorák began to compose in F major, but he probably wasn't satis ed with that version, since later (on 25 October 1881) he decided to create an entirely new work, in C major. The string quartet contains four movements and lasts around 30 minutes. Two themes based on a polonaise for cello and piano, B. 94, written two years earlier, reappear in the spirited scherzo of the third movement. Wolf Italian Serenade The Italian Serenade is a piece of music written by Hugo Wolf in 1887. It was written originally for string quartet and named simply Serenade in G major. By April 1890, he was referring to it in his letters as "Italian Serenade". In 1892, he arranged it for string orchestra. It is one of his few works other than lieder. The work was written between 2 and 4 May 1887. One of its inspirations was his concurrent work on setting various poems by Joseph Eichendor to music, and the rst of them "Der Soldat I" has a theme that is similar to that of the Serenade. That poems subject is similar to that of Eichendor 's novella Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (From the Life of a Ne'er-Do-Well), and it may be that Wolf was as much in uenced by this work as he was by the poem. The novella includes a section about an Italian serenade played by a small orchestra. The hero of the novella is a young violinist who leaves home to seek his fortune further a eld, and this could well have been something that Wolf could relate to. It was originally planned as part of a work in three movements. However, Wolf later abandoned this plan in favor of a self-contained, one-movement work. His father died only a week after he wrote the Serenade, and he wrote no more music for the remainder of 1887. When Wolf orchestrated the work in 1892, he was intending it as the rst movement of a four-movement suite. He did sketch a slow movement in G minor, but never nished it. In his letters, he mentions another movement that he claimed to have completed, but that score has never come to light, only 45 measures of sketches being extant. In 1897, he sketched a few pages of a Tarantella to complete the suite, but he was committed to an insane asylum before he could nish it. In summary, all that remains of the projected suite is the Italian Serenade. Throughout his time in the asylum, where he remained for the rest of his life, he planned to complete the suite, but this never eventuated. Wolf died in February 1903. The Italian Serenade is quite short, taking only about 7 minutes, and has a lilting and varied theme, played over a pizzicato gure. The main theme is said to have been based on an old Italian melody played on an obsolete form of oboe called the pi ero. Its lively and optimistic manner is an evocation of the Italianate spirit, realized through melodic richness. Robert W. Gutman has written that "The essence of the delicious Italian Serenade is its antithesis of romantic sentiment and mocking wit". Its rst performance was in Vienna in January 1904, eleven months after Wolf's death. Both the original string quartet version and the orchestral version were played at the premiere. The Italian Serenade has been recorded many times, it is a favorite encore piece for string quartets, and it has been arranged by other hands for combinations of instruments such as a wind quintet and solo viola and orchestra. The Juilliard String Quartet was founded in 1946 at the Juilliard School in New York. The original members were Robert Mann and Robert Koff on violin, Raphael Hillyer on viola, and Arthur Winograd on cello; Current members are violinists Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, violist Samuel Rhodes, and cellist Joel Krosnick. In 2010 Nick Eanet resigned from the Quartet because of health issues and was replaced by Joseph Lin in 2011. Joel Smirnoff left the quartet after its 2008-2009 season to become president of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since the Quartet's inception in 1946, it has been the quartet-in-residence at the Juilliard School. It has received numerous awards, including four Grammys and membership in the National Academy Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. The quartet plays a wide range of classical music, and has recorded works by composers such as Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bartók, Debussy, and Shostakovich, while also promoting more contemporary composers such as Elliott Carter, Ralph Shapey, and Milton Babbitt. It has also performed with other noted musicians such as Aaron Copland, Yo-Yo Ma, and Maurizio Pollini.