Dora Novak-Wilmington, Karel Košárek – piano, Clara Nováková – flute, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Tomáš Netopil
The music of Jan Novák (1921–1984) is extraordinary and remarkable as such. However, this recording puts a kind of stamp of authenticity on it since the solo parts are played not only by pianist Karel Košárek but also by both of the composer’s daughters. While flautist Clara Nováková might have gone back in memories to the time when she was fifteen and her father dedicated the first version of Choreae vernales to her, Dora Novak-Wilmington sat on the piano stool instead of her mother, Eliška, who played the instrument as brilliantly as her husband, Jan. In a way, the recording exudes the atmosphere of a family reunion across time. Novák’s Concerto for Two Pianos reflects his impressions of studying with Bohuslav Martinů in New York (where they visited jazz clubs together) as well as his desire for recognition from his teacher. The historical recording of the work (Jan and Eliška Novák, Czech Philharmonic, Karel Ančerl, 1957) deserves to be complemented by a representative modern recording. Concentus biiugis for piano four hands was performed in the year of its creation in the composer’s exile in Germany as a way of supporting Charter 77, an anti-regime movement in his homeland. The first version of Choreae vernales was written in the same year in Italy and three years later Novák clothed it in the colourful attire of string orchestra. It is this nearly unknown version of the composition that is newly recorded here. The orchestra’s involvement and renowned conductor Tomáš Netopil’s distinct musicianship help the soloists to create Jan Novák’s colourful and striking musical landscape.
Another excursion to Jan Novák’s wonderful musical landscape
Concentus biiugis for Piano Four-hands and String Orchestra