At Dusk Op. 13

Alla Ballata


  • Recorded: 8th June 2020
  • Record Place: Prague Radio Studio No.1
  • First Release: 2020
  • (P) 2020 SUPRAPHON a.s.
  • Genre: Orchestral

Artists

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

Album

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)
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

Reviews

“[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 (Piano 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

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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