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Novák: Lady Godiva Overture, etc / Pesek, BBC Philharmonic

Album Summary

>Novák, Vitezslav : Lady Godiva Overture, Op. 41
>Novák, Vitezslav : Toman and the Wood Nymph, for orchestra, Op. 40
>Novák, Vitezslav : De Profundis, symphonic poem for large orchestra & organ, Op. 67
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Novak was considered to be a leading light in Czech music, helping to solidify the Bohemian national style. All three works presented here are highly virtuosic, and examples of Romantic "tour de force" orchestral writing. The ever spectacular BBC orchestra handles each score with apparent ease and abundant power. The closing "Grandioso" movement from "De profundis" is just about as exciting and powerful as music gets.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Víteslav Novák was a keen walker and each piece on this absorbing CD testifies to his vivid sense of outdoors. He was also fascinated by the female psyche and two of the works programmed bring rival viragos to mind: Smetana's 'Srárka' (in the opening pages of Lady Godiva) and Strauss's Salome (the close of Toman and the Wood Nymph).

Yet for all their lustre, excitement and charm, even Godiva and Toman can't rival the oppressive power of Novák's wartime masterpiece De profundis, a work that surely levels with Martinu's Lidice as being among the most poignant musical memorials of the period. Composed during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, De profundis finds Novák employing a significantly darkened palette, though the exultant closing section (track 7) bears little resemblance to the various politically motivated 'happy endings' that were surfacing elsewhere. Novák's use of the organ runs parallel with Scriabin's in The Poem ofEcstasy (albeit to very different effect).

Libor Peek shows obvious sympathy for this repertoire and the playing of the BBC Philharmonic reaches formidable heights of passion, notably at the close of De profundis. Alternative discs of Novák's music are few and far between, and hard to come by.



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Works Details

>Vitezslav Novák (1870 - 1949) : Lady Godiva Overture, Op. 41
  • Conductor: Libor Pesek
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Sudio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (03/25/1999-03/26/1999)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Vitezslav Novák (1870 - 1949) : Toman and the Wood Nymph, for orchestra, Op. 40
  • Conductor: Libor Pesek
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Sudio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (03/25/1999-03/26/1999)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Vitezslav Novák (1870 - 1949) : De Profundis, symphonic poem for large orchestra & organ, Op. 67
  • Conductor: Libor Pesek
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Sudio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (03/25/1999-03/26/1999)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Choral