Saturday, December 6, 2014

Vítězslav Novák - Friday's Birthday (b. Nov 5 1870, d. July 18 1949) Lady Godiva - Toman and the Wood Nymphs - De Profundis - BBC Philharmonic, Libor Pešek

Once again I'm posting a Friday birthday a day late. Perhaps this should become my signature style ;)
This disc of orchestral music by Vitezslav Novak is a true beauty, and indeed when released it received the highest praise and golden reviews, and was on every 'editor's choice' list imaginable. 
Novak was born November 5th, 1870 and lived until July 18th, 1949. 

The "Lady Godiva" Op. 41 overture is more so a harrowing tone poem. Captivatingly impulsive, with a fierce, robust opening introducing a superbly lyrical peroration, this is a deadly serious and at times extremely exciting essay around the conflict between evil and good. Bernard Herrmann might well have been influenced by the score. Swooning strings, skittering harp arpeggios, and a grand romance makes this a gorgeous score. Still more captivating is the symphonic poem 

Still more captivating "Toman and the Wood Nymph" Op. 40, a midsummer night’s tale of a lovesick youth drawn to his doom by a forest femme fatale is extremely attractive in a clean impressionistic and often Gaelic way. There are some Baxian moments to my ears, and perhaps even a hint of Sibelius's Symphony No. 1. This is simply great listening, especially with the lights drawn low (or better still off) and one's attention given entirely to the enchanting tones that help unravel this classic story set deep within a forest near the high Tatras.

"De profundis" Op. 67, from the end of Novák’s career, is a shattering commemoration of the sufferings of the Czechs during Nazi occupation-perhaps the last great document of Czech musical Romanticism. The symphonic poem grumbles and throbs with deep bell tones-a sort of Czech equivalent of Respighi's "Church Windows". The world encompassed is similar to the awesome chasm of the Bax Second Symphony and the opening of Miaskovsky's Seventh Symphony. The raw and sober trumpets (at 7:10) are noteworthy. The work is high on gloom and short on hope. A wheezy homespun harmonium tone for the largo gives way to a brief bitter and majestic peroration.




Johannes R. Becher said...

I first came to know Novak thanks to a 'The Storm' cd found in the local library. I liked its programmatic romanticism a lot and thought it was strange I hadn't heard of him before. It's such accessible and joyful that it would seamlessly fit into the largely non-offending, conservative programmes typical of small and mid-size towns' music halls. But no trace of it! And indeed his works are very rarely seen on cd, so this one is something we can be very grateful for. It sounds really nice, hours of entertaining lay ahead.

Tzadik said...

Indeed, and he's really one of the finest Czech composers so it's one of those why so obscure? mysteries. Lush and accessible is correct, audiences would be delightfully intoxicated my his music if given the chance!

Anonymous said...

Novak uno de mis favoritos composer,gracias no tenia este cd,si en sello Supraphon Checo cd,la Violin Sonata del autor Novak es bellísima,te la recomiendo mucho,mi amigo de USA-el único que tengo-,en cuanto Venus Vigilia,en decca,lo tengo,maravilloso opus sifonico-coral,muy bueno,pero más me gustaría los PianoConcertos de George Lloyd.Mucha gracias,Tzadik!!Tapirman

Tzadik said...

Tapirman oh ok usted tiene la "Vigilia de Venus" Lloyd entonces? Así que sólo voy a seguir buscando mis otros discos George Lloyd (los de Albany son muy buenos). saludos

Anonymous said...

Yes,yes,the Albany cd's son super,en especial PianoConcertos,and Symphonys 6 & 10,gracias,por ver este mensaje,amable Tzadik!! Tapirman

Tzadik said...

No hay problema Dr. T, siempre y cuando entiendo que tengo un montón de lugares donde mis discos George Lloyd pueden ser; se difundirá, pero realmente no puedo decir cuándo.
Por otra parte, que no le gusta una sorpresa? ;)
Saludos !!

César said...

Por favor, ¿podría reponer el link? Muchas gracias de antemano.

César said...

Por favor, ¿podría reponer el enlace de descarga? Muchas gracias de antemano.

Tzadik said...

@ César

Done :)