"Conceiving an idea is, in and of itself, nothing special. It simply comes to you. And if it is beautiful, and great, it is not a human achievement, anyway. On the other hand, executing the idea well and creating something great from it: that is the difficult part - that is art!" Antonio Dvořák was deeply convinced that compositional caftsmanship was more important than naked inspiration, regardless how brilliant.
The origins of the String Quintet in G, Op.77 and the Notturno, Op.40, which can be heard on this CD, are intriguingly intertwined. Dvořák composed his Op.77 in 1875 as a submission to the Umělecká beseda composition competition, contributing it under the title,'To my People'. The work had its premier in Prague on 18 March 1876.
In this, its original form, it still featured five movements - and the opus number 18. Against the will of the composer, Simrock, Dvořák's publisher, published the Quintet in 1888 under this opus number, with the aim of deluding potential purchasers into thinking it was a 'new' work from the composer's pen.
The fifth movement that originally belonged to Op.77, i.e., the Intemezzo (Nocturne), had been taken albeit in drastically abbreviated form, by Dvořák from his unpublished String Quartet in E minor, Op.9.