Concerto for Piano and Orchestra E minor

Andante con sentimento

  • Recorded: 24th May 2019
  • Record Place: Prague Radio Studio No.1
  • First Release: 2020
  • (P) 2020 SUPRAPHON a.s.
  • Genre: Orchestral


  • music by: Vítězslav Novák
  • piano: Jan Bartoš
  • conductor: Jakub Hrůša
  • musical group: Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra


Jan Bartoš, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Jakub Hrůša

Novák: Piano Concerto, Toman and the Wood Nymph

Catalogue Number: SU 4284-2
Published: 11th September 2020
Genre: Orchestral
Format: 1 CD
This album has received following awards:
  • Album of the Week, Europadisc (2020)
  • Classical Album of the Week, The Guardian (2020)
  • The Month's Best Albums, The Guardian (2020)
  • Cena Anděl (2021)
Vítězslav Novák - Piano Concerto, Toman and the Wood Nymph / Jan Bartoš, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Jakub Hrůša

Vítězslav Novák (1870-1949) - Piano Concerto in E minor* (1895). Toman and the Wood Nymph - symphonic poem for large orchestra, Op. 40 (1906-07). At Dusk, Op. 13 (1896, for piano solo)

Jan Bartoš - piano, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor: Jakub Hrůša

The greatest Czech composers - Dvořák, Smetana, Janáček, Suk, Martinů ... And anyone else? Yes, Vítězslav Novák! Who was he? A pupil of Dvořák's, later on one of the most distinguished music creators and teachers on the domestic scene. A Post-Romantic and the first of the generation of Modernists profoundly inspired by Moravian folk music. This year's 150th anniversary of Novák's birth affords the opportunity to take a closer look at his oeuvre - and to rediscover that which has been overlooked. The idea of making the first studio recording of the Piano Concerto, a remarkable early work by the 25-year-old Novák, was enthusiastically endorsed by the superb Czech pianist Jan Bartoš. Due to its intimate nature, At Dusk, Op. 13, a cycle of miniatures for solo piano, inspired by J. S. Machar's poetry, stands in contrast to the concerto's virtuosic stylisation. The tone poem Toman and the Wood Nymph may be deemed the most ambitious of Novák's symphonic works. As the composer himself put it, he strove to express an "uncontrollable torrent of wild passion", referring to the piece as an "orgy of sound" and the ballad as a "depiction of woman's demonic power over man". Jakub Hrůša, a globally renowned contemporary conductor, invites us to rediscover Novák's music: "We are obliged to perform it. His music is so profound and far-reaching that we simply cannot ignore it and let it gather dust in archives and remain buried in music history textbooks."

Vítězslav Novák's music rediscovered


“[The Concerto] is crammed with hefty bravura solo writing that is dispatched on the recording by Jan Bartoš with suitable muscularity… but it’s the work that ends the disc, the symphonic poem Toman and the Wood Nymph, that justifies Hrůša’s enthusiasm… It’s an effective piece, full of striking, pictorial invention, and Hrůša and the Prague Radio orchestra project it with every bit of the vividness it needs.”
The Guardian, September 2020

“Bartoš’s playing is ardent and committed, with sterling support from the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hrůša and well-balanced sound… Hrůša’s performance with the Prague Radio orchestra stands out from all others for its technical aplomb, full-throttle passion, expressive sensitivity and superb modern sound. Anyone with any sort of interest in Central European music at the turn of the century ought to hear this disc for the extra perspectives it affords on a fascinating figure of the period…Very warmly recommended!”
Europadisc, September 2020

“We get fantastic playing from pianist Jan Bartoš, treating the music with the seriousness it deserves and throwing in a delectable bonus in the shape of At Dusk… It’s brilliantly performed, Hrůša letting rip when needed. I’d suggest waiting til the neighbours are out and turning the volume up: the closing bars are terrifying. A fascinating introduction to an unjustly neglected figure.”
The Arts Desk, October 2020

“It’s excellent to hear this youthful work [The Concerto] in a CD performance as well prepared and executed as this…”
MusicWeb International, October 2020

“Novak – pupil of Dvorak, friend and rival of his son-in-law Josef Suk – may not rank as highly as Hrusa’s ‚Czech five‘ (those two plus Smetana, Janacek and Martinu). But this music – the youthful piano concerto, a mature set of piano pieces and a tone poem akin to Dvorak’s folk tale masterpieces – hovers between Dvorak, Liszt and the young Strauss and is worth knowing in Hrusa and Bartos’s idiomatic performances.”
The Sunday Times, November 2020

“Composed ten years later, Toman and the Wood Nymph is far more original and confident than the concerto… Hrůša and the orchestra respond well to its turbulent passions in a captivating performance with superb recorded sound… the four movements of At Dusk for solo piano have greater character and in a performance as committed as that of Jan Bartoš show clear evidence of greatness to come.”
BBC Music Magazine, Christmas issue 2020

“Both corner movements are characterized by driven, virtuoso dynamism, while the wonderfully beautiful, slow movement, the andante con sentimento, is a lyrical highlight of 19th century piano literature in general… Can not be missed! Hrůša and the Prague Radio Orchestra play it with all the liveliness it needs, Bartoš's piano playing is fiery and dedicated and Hrůša's performance with the Prague Radio Orchestra is in turn characterized by technical self-assurance, passion, expressive sensitivity and beautiful sound. The music is brilliantly performed by both, the soloist and the conductor, which makes this CD a fascinating introduction to a great, unjustly, neglected figure.”
Stretto, December 2020

“It goes without saying that the qualities of orchestra, conductor and soloist leave no wish unfulfilled.”
Opus Klassiek, December 2020

“Jan Bartoš and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra clearly believe in the music’s quality and Jakub Hruša is a committed advocate of the composer, as his booklet note affirms. Supraphon’s sound is splendid. Bartoš illustrates a more sensitive and intimate side to his playing in the brief suite At Dusk…”
International Piano, January 2021

“Bartos versteht der doch eigenen Aussagekroft eine Tiefe in seinem Spiel zu verleihen, die in jeder Hinsicht fasziniert: mit traumwandlerischer Sicherheit findet er die richtigen Phrasierungen, versteht die richtigen unaufgeregten Akzente zu setzenl und im letzten Satz auch das Böhmisch-Tönzerische zu integrieren. Dabei ist seine Technik stupend, die er allein für den musikalischen Ausdruck einsetzt… Eine wunderbare Musik, perfekt interpretiert. Eine Einspielung, die sich anzuhören und zu entdecken lohnt!”
Piano News, January 2021

“Nun ist dank der Interpreten und des Labels diese CD mit ihren exzellenten Neueinspielungen und brillanten Tonaufnahmen zur schönen Würdigung von Nováks 150. Geburtstag geworden. Und sie beeindruckt ungemein!”
Das Orchester, February 2021

“Composées dans la foulée, les quatre pièces du cycle Au crépuscule sont surtout prétexte, pour le pianiste, à démontrer la subtilité de son toucher… Poème symphonique Toman et la nymphe des bois apparaît comme le véritable joyau du programme… Hrusa préserve la lisibilité d'une partition aux intrications complexes, enflamme ses troupes et appuie là où ça fait mal pour mieux nous emporter dans le tourbillon des passions. Troublant.”
Diapason, April 2021

“Auch seine Ersteinspielung des Klavierkonzerts von Vítězslav Novák mit dem Pianisten Jan Bartoš zeugt von solch überragender Klasse, wenngleich die Tondichtung Toman und die Waldnymphe, ein Hauptwerk des böhmischen Strauss-Zeitgenossen, in seiner mitreißenden Dramaturgie hier noch fesselnder ist.”
Crescendo, April 2021

“Jan Bartoš clearly believes in the music, and delivers an expressive, flowing performance, ably accompanied by Hruša and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra… Toman and the Wood Nymph has been recorded numerous times, but this newcomer is as effective as any of the competition, and it makes an apt pairing to the concerto as evidence of Novák’s evolving musical language. In short, this is a very enjoyable release.”, August 2021

Vítězslav Novák
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra E minor
1. Allegro energico 10:33
2. Andante con sentimento 07:31
3. Allegro giusto 08:56
Vítězslav Novák
At Dusk Op. 13
4. Andante rubato 01:30
5. Alla Ballata 04:16
6. Serenade No. 1 Andante con moto 02:02
7. Serenade No. 2 Andante grazioso 02:29
Vítězslav Novák
8. Toman and the Wood Nymph Op. 40 Symphonic poem after a Bohemian legend for large orchestra 25:01

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