Author Topic: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)  (Read 36395 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #120 on: October 18, 2018, 11:02:56 PM »
There is a lot of great Novak.  This disc is excellent too:
https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Godiva-Profundis-Toman-Nymph/dp/B00004TD53


Following our discussion I fished this CD out to play yesterday and totally agree. I wish that Chandos had recorded some more Novak, not least 'The Storm'. As for the above CD it's great to have a modern recording of 'De Profundis', written under Nazi occupation - a defiantly moving work.

I also like this powerful historic recording - an excellent disc as well.


I prefer the South Bohemian Suite, another assertion of Czech independence at a difficult time, to the more famous Slovak Suite.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 11:18:20 PM by vandermolen »
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Online Irons

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #121 on: October 19, 2018, 07:34:29 AM »
Checking out vandermolen's list of works for orchestra pretty much sums up the Novak on my shelves. Only one to add is a "Dramatic Overture, Marsa". I have a few chamber works including this one which has a good image of Novak on the cover. He looks a bit like a mad professor. ;D

You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #122 on: October 19, 2018, 09:53:11 AM »
Checking out vandermolen's list of works for orchestra pretty much sums up the Novak on my shelves. Only one to add is a "Dramatic Overture, Marsa". I have a few chamber works including this one which has a good image of Novak on the cover. He looks a bit like a mad professor. ;D



Yes, it's a great photo!

The Piano Quintet gets the thumbs up from me too. Must investigate 'Marsa' which I don't recall.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #123 on: September 08, 2019, 03:44:02 PM »


The only recording I know of the 3rd String Quartet is on this CD and it's spellbinding. As in his 2nd SQ, it's in 2 broad movements widely contrasted in moods. The 1st movement is based on or related to folk music of his native land, jolly almost festive at times, while the 2nd is a deep lament with profoundity enough to grip anyone. All the Novák's late-period mastery is displayed. Easily a masterpiece.

The Cello Sonata is very nice for both instruments. Again, the distinctive more-serious taste of his late period is perceived and always with energy enough.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #124 on: September 09, 2019, 10:44:17 AM »


The only recording I know of the 3rd String Quartet is on this CD and it's spellbinding. As in his 2nd SQ, it's in 2 broad movements widely contrasted in moods. The 1st movement is based on or related to folk music of his native land, jolly almost festive at times, while the 2nd is a deep lament with profoundity enough to grip anyone. All the Novák's late-period mastery is displayed. Easily a masterpiece.

The Cello Sonata is very nice for both instruments. Again, the distinctive more-serious taste of his late period is perceived and always with energy enough.

Looks like a must-have CD Cesar. Thanks for alerting us to it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #125 on: September 10, 2019, 11:25:23 AM »
Looks like a must-have CD Cesar. Thanks for alerting us to it.

You're welcome! Just for the SQ 3 is worth getting.

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #126 on: February 06, 2020, 03:50:34 PM »
Since this year commemorates his 150 anniversary, it would be the most fabulous news if one or some record labels took the project of recording the two symphonies. I know Beethoven will be the focus of attention this year, but personally I expect discoveries and recordings of other noteworthy composers whose music deserves attention too, like Novák.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #127 on: February 06, 2020, 03:55:41 PM »
Since this year commemorates his 150 anniversary, it would be the most fabulous news if one or some record labels took the project of recording the two symphonies. I know Beethoven will be the focus of attention this year, but personally I expect discoveries and recordings of other noteworthy composers whose music deserves attention too, like Novák.

Just my two cents, but I’ve heard some of Novák’s music and didn’t really think much of it. I think if one is going to write in an Impressionistic style, they need to create something new and fresh with it instead of relying on what Debussy or Ravel achieved. Novák didn’t do this and I have found pretty much everything I’ve heard from him went in one ear and out the other.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #128 on: February 06, 2020, 05:01:52 PM »
Just my two cents, but I’ve heard some of Novák’s music and didn’t really think much of it. I think if one is going to write in an Impressionistic style, they need to create something new and fresh with it instead of relying on what Debussy or Ravel achieved. Novák didn’t do this and I have found pretty much everything I’ve heard from him went in one ear and out the other.

That is your impression, John, and I respect it, but I don't feel that nor share it. In fact, I don't have any problems with composers that don't have a unique or recognizable voice like Ravel or Debussy, for me it's not a requirement to enjoy works by others. If music sounds good and I like it, that is what I care for. In addition, Novák not only did compose in an Impressionistic style, but he did in other styles, as can be evident in works like the 3rd String Quartet, which I rank very high. Another work I find interesting and doesn't sound impressionistic is De Profundis. IIRC, The Storm has some Impressionistic elements, but as a whole is a masterpiece of tremendous drama.

I could mention composers you like but I don't and that I don't think are great, but I think it's pointless. Anyway, it's interesting to contrast opinions about music!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 05:11:27 PM by Symphonic Addict »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #129 on: February 06, 2020, 05:13:59 PM »
That is your impression, John, and I respect it, but I don't feel that nor share it. In fact, I don't have any problems with composers that don't have a unique or recognizable voice like Ravel or Debussy, for me it's not a requisite to enjoy works by others. If music sounds good and I like it, that is what I care for. In addition, Novák not only did compose in an Impressionistic style, but he did in other styles, as can be evident in works like the 3rd String Quartet, which I rank very high. Another work I find interesting and doesn't sound impressionistic is De Profundis. IIRC, The Storm has some Impressionistic elements, but as a whole is a masterpiece of tremendous drama.

I could mention composers you like but I don't and that I don't think are great, but I think it's pointless. Anyway, it's interesting to contrast opinions about music!

Well it’s certainly true that we like is what we like, but for the past few years, I’ve finally started to nail down what it is I like and dislike about this or that piece or this or that composer. I think what I’m finding out and what seems to be where my mind is at in this given moment is that much of the old-fashioned music that I once enjoyed has become stale to me. Progressively I have been moving away from composers like Elgar or Vaughan Williams for example for years and I knew that something was definitely wrong when I couldn’t even sit through a performance of RVW’s A Pastoral Symphony several weeks ago. My tastes have changed for better or for worse. I think this is something that was going to happen whenever I started listening to the Second Viennese School around 7-8 years ago. This isn’t to say that what you’re listening to or what Vandermolen or whoever is listening to is bad --- that’s certainly not what I’m saying. It’s simply that I’ve matured in my listening and have become much more critical of music that simply does nothing for me or that I find to just not be very good (or whatever). I respect your own opinions and I hope you understand that I’m not singling anyone out for not listening to something that I find unenjoyable. Everyone has their opinions about music and we all gravitate towards the sounds that we’re attracted to. As a funny aside, if you had told me 9 years ago that I would like Boulez’s music, I would have laughed my ass off, because I’d deny it in a heartbeat. How wrong I would have been, too, which would certainly not be the first nor the last time I was wrong. :)
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 05:25:08 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Daverz

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #130 on: February 06, 2020, 08:47:28 PM »
That is your impression, John

Ah, Novak has the MI seal of approval at last.   :P

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #131 on: February 07, 2020, 12:15:25 AM »
I rate Novak very highly and consider him not just 'undeservedly neglected' but a great composer. I consider 'The Storm' one of the greatest choral works of the 20th Century. Oddly enough Novak lived about as far as the sea as you could get. Must add this work to relm1's 'catharsis' thread! De Profundis, In the Tatras, the South Bohemian Suite and the Nocturnes for Voice and Orchestra all move me greatly as does some of the chamber music. I'm less keen on the Slovak Suite.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline kyjo

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #132 on: February 09, 2020, 01:04:49 PM »
Just my two cents, but I’ve heard some of Novák’s music and didn’t really think much of it. I think if one is going to write in an Impressionistic style, they need to create something new and fresh with it instead of relying on what Debussy or Ravel achieved. Novák didn’t do this and I have found pretty much everything I’ve heard from him went in one ear and out the other.

Am I the only person getting really tired of you butting in and expressing your dislike for a composer’s music whenever someone else expresses their admiration for it? I’m not the greatest fan of most of Debussy’s music, for example, but I - nor anyone else on this forum - don’t butt in and say something negative about it whenever you express admiration for it or anything else. In case you’re wondering, John, this is the reason why I don’t have much interest in communicating with you on this forum anymore. And, for what it’s worth, I don’t think most of Novák’s music sounds one bit like Debussy or Ravel. I do wonder what’s happened to your ears recently...
« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 01:15:00 PM by kyjo »
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Offline Christo

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #133 on: February 09, 2020, 09:51:41 PM »
I rate Novak very highly and consider him not just 'undeservedly neglected' but a great composer. I consider 'The Storm' one of the greatest choral works of the 20th Century. Oddly enough Novak lived about as far as the sea as you could get. Must add this work to relm1's 'catharsis' thread! De Profundis, In the Tatras, the South Bohemian Suite and the Nocturnes for Voice and Orchestra all move me greatly as does some of the chamber music. I'm less keen on the Slovak Suite.
I don’t think most of Novák’s music sounds one bit like Debussy or Ravel. I do wonder what’s happened to your ears recently...

This - the two of you - settle the deal, isn't it? What I heard from Novák is still not enough to be able to join the club, but certainly enough to be curious for much more. He's an original composer, one of the Czech 'great', and there are so many, from Smetana, Dvořák, Suk, Janáček and Martinů, to Schulhoff and Kabeláč, to mention only the better known.

BTW, and something for John here to ponder: isn't Martinů - the later Martinů I mean, since he was exiled - the only "sea composer" in this row? Very good point by Jeffrey: if anything, Novák is all too obviously not among them.  ;D
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #134 on: March 01, 2020, 08:32:34 PM »


I stumbled upon this rarity, and a good rarity it is. Nikotina is a ballet whose music is highly imaginative, quirky, frolicsome, and I could say it's significantly tuneful too. It's been a pretty agreeable discovery. Something bad about it is the only track for the 52 minutes of this work. Not very helpful actually. Toman and the Wood Nymph is the another work, and I think it's a better performance than that on Chandos. This may not be the most memorable stuff out there, but I do find it voluptuous, dramatic, atmospheric with a rich orchestration and that's enough to enjoy it very much, for me anyway.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #135 on: March 01, 2020, 11:14:15 PM »


I stumbled upon this rarity, and a good rarity it is. Nikotina is a ballet whose music is highly imaginative, quirky, frolicsome, and I could say it's significantly tuneful too. It's been a pretty agreeable discovery. Something bad about it is the only track for the 52 minutes of this work. Not very helpful actually. Toman and the Wood Nymph is the another work, and I think it's a better performance than that on Chandos. This may not be the most memorable stuff out there, but I do find it voluptuous, dramatic, atmospheric with a rich orchestration and that's enough to enjoy it very much, for me anyway.
Looks like a most interesting CD Cesar. I don't know either work.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #136 on: March 02, 2020, 09:53:00 AM »
Looks like a most interesting CD Cesar. I don't know either work.

You might like it, Jeffrey. Sounds great. There's another ballet called Signorina Gioventu, also on Supraphon, coupled with the tone poem Eternal Longing. I look forward to listening to it as well.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #137 on: March 02, 2020, 10:20:09 AM »
You might like it, Jeffrey. Sounds great. There's another ballet called Signorina Gioventu, also on Supraphon, coupled with the tone poem Eternal Longing. I look forward to listening to it as well.
Thanks Cesar. I know 'Eternal Longing' which I like although my favourites are:
The Storm
South Bohemian Suite
Eight Nocturnes for Voice and Orchestra
In the Tatras
De Profundis.
Pan (Piano/Orchestral versions)
Piano Quintet.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 11:35:09 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #138 on: March 02, 2020, 01:27:07 PM »
Thanks Cesar. I know 'Eternal Longing' which I like although my favourites are:
The Storm
South Bohemian Suite
Eight Nocturnes for Voice and Orchestra
In the Tatras
De Profundis.

I would also add the string quartets 2 and 3, Pan (orchestral version) and the Sonata Eroica for piano.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vitezslaw Novak (1870-1949)
« Reply #139 on: March 02, 2020, 11:34:27 PM »
I would also add the string quartets 2 and 3, Pan (orchestral version) and the Sonata Eroica for piano.
I should have included Pan, which I like in both piano and orchestral versions.
I also like the Piano Quintet.
I've now added Pan to my list.
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« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 11:39:53 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).