The eight Waltzes for piano Op. 54 were published in two volumes by Simrock in 1880. A year earlier the Ball Committee of the National Society in Prague asked eminent Czech composers to enrich the programme of the 30th Annual Ball with new dance music. Dvorák decided for the waltz. The piece he composed did keep to the usual scheme of the dance waltz, however it contained notions of rhythmic and motional freedom which were not suitable for practical dance music. Dvorák realised this and decided to use the more characterful themes to create several independent concert waltzes for piano two hands. Thus began a series of waltzes, two of which the composer adjusted for string quartet. The waltzes soon became the welcome guests of concert stages and households alike. The publication is part of the first Complete Critical Edition of the Works of Antonín Dvorák.