About this work
This composition of 1897 was Dvorak's last orchestral work. Unlike his previous four symphonic poems, this one does not have a specific program (or if it does, Dvorak chose not to disclose it). One wonders why extra-musical associations often help a piece of music become popular, specially if they are as ghastly as the Erben ballads on which the other four symphonic poems are based. There are no musical reasons for the comparable neglect of Hero's Song which is musically as rich as its siblings written one year earlier. It is based on a short theme in minor mode heard at the very beginning. The work begins impetuously, Allegro con fuoco, featuring the main theme in diverse shapes. The music gradually quiets down to a Poco adagio lacrimoso, a section full of sadness and longing. The hero gradually recovers from his grief. The mode becomes major and the mood victorious. A series of alternatives follows leading to the final triumph of the hero in the concluding coda. A truly enjoyable piece that deserves to be more popular.