As the eminent music critic Harold C. Schonberg put it, Dvořák wrote "an attractive Piano Concerto in G minor with a rather ineffective piano part, a beautiful Violin Concerto in A minor, and a supreme Cello Concerto in B minor".
Dvořák composed his piano concerto from late August through 14 September 1876. Its autograph version contains many corrections, erasures, cuts and additions, the bulk of which were made in the piano part. The work was premiered in Prague on 24 March 1878, with the orchestra of the Prague Provisional Theatre conducted by Adolf Čech with the pianist Karel Slavkovsky.
Dvořák himself realized that he had not created a piece in which the piano does battle with the orchestra, as it is not a virtuosic piece. As Dvořák wrote: "I see I am unable to write a Concerto for a virtuoso; I must think of other things."
What Dvořák composed, instead, was a symphonic concerto in which the piano plays a leading part in the orchestra, rather than opposed to it.
In an effort to mitigate awkward passages and expand the pianist's range of sonorities, the Czech pianist and pedagogue Vilém Kurz undertook an extensive re-writing of the solo part; the Kurz revision is frequently performed today.
The concerto was championed for many years by the noted Czech pianist Rudolf Firkušný, who played it with many different conductors and orchestras around the world before his death in 1994. Once a student of Kurz, Firkušný performed the revised solo part for much of his life, turning towards the original Dvořák score later on in his concert career.