Author Topic: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer  (Read 9738 times)

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Offline Superhorn

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Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« on: October 14, 2008, 08:01:18 AM »
   Zdenek  Fibich  (1850 - 1900 )  has never achieved the fame of Smetana, Dvorak and Janacek, but from what I have heard of his music, he deserves to be better-known.

   I have the Chandos cds of his three symphonies conducted by that tireless champion of neglected music, Neeme Jarvi. Praise be to Jarvi !  He has put audiences and classical cd collectors everywhere in his debt by giving a chance to so much unjustly neglected music. And I don't agree with those on this Forum who have been pooh-poohing him as a conductor. I have never heard a bad performance from him, and many of the highest quality.

   The  three symphonies may not be earth-shaking masterpieces, but they are very appealing, chock full of wonderful melodies and impeccably crafted. It would be wonderful if some other conductors than Jarvi would program these symphonies at concerts instead of doing the umpteenth performance of the New World , wonderful as that thrice-familiar symphony is.

   I  have also heard the Supraphon recording of his opera Sarka, based on the old Czech legend  depicted in Ma Vlast, also set by Janacek as a opera.  It was in  my old public library where I used to live, and I don't remember the names of the Czech cast and conductor, but I loved  it, and was amazed that such an obscure opera could be that good. There is also a recording on Orfeo  which I have nnot heard.

   If you can find either of these recordings, grab them.  There were  also some other cds which I have not heard of some Czech plays for which Fibich did not actually write incidental music, but something called melodrama, that is the plays with continuous musical commentary.  These were reviewed in Fanfare magazine several years ago, and sound intriguing.

Bulldog

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2008, 08:09:43 AM »
Yes, a fine composer.  In addition to his symphonies, I have a couple of chamber music discs:

Harry

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2008, 08:19:29 AM »
By all means, I am agreeing with you about the Fibich recordings, and its worth to the musical worth. Neeme Jarvi, is a excellent conductor, but as all his compeers he had his Waterloo's, and one major failure was the entire Dvorak Symphony cycle on Chandos. From the very beginning a dead duck. slow tempi, uninspired sluggish music making!

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2008, 01:46:27 PM »
  It's nice to know there are some others who enjoy Fibich's music also.
By chance, I just borrowed Jarvi's set of the complete Dvorak symphonies from a nearby library through the interloan system, and liked it very much.I didn't hear these recordings the way you do at all. Oh well, we all hear things differently.

Offline Grazioso

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 04:05:11 AM »
Another vote for Fibich--he's very much akin to Dvorak. Try also Novak and Suk if you want to hear Czech composers in a Romantic vein who haven't gotten their due.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2008, 02:41:55 PM »
Another vote for Fibich--he's very much akin to Dvorak. Try also Novak and Suk if you want to hear Czech composers in a Romantic vein who haven't gotten their due.

And Josef Bohuslav Foerster!

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2008, 02:58:21 PM »
And Josef Bohuslav Foerster!

Any particular Foerster discs that you recommend?  I've had my eye on a relatively new Supraphon disc of violin concertos.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2008, 05:10:08 PM »
Any particular Foerster discs that you recommend?  I've had my eye on a relatively new Supraphon disc of violin concertos.

Yes that disc is certainly worth investigating. Both concertos are well-constructed essays in late romanticism, warm, attractive works which put musical content ahead of virtuosity for the sake of it. There is an alternative performance of the First Violin Concerto on Orfeo played by Andrea Duke Lowenstein coupled with the equally attractive Symphonic Suite "Cyrano de Bergerac" but it does make sense to buy the Supraphon coupling.

The 1st and 2nd symphonies were released recently by MDG. A review-
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2008/May08/Foerster_mdg63214912.htm

but, of course, Foerster's masterpiece was the Symphony No.4 "Easter Eve"-either the old Supraphon under Smetacek or the more recent worthy Naxos version under Lance Friedel. This really must count as the greatest Czech symphony of the post Dvorak generation-a marriage of Foerster's Bohemian heritage with Brucknerian and Mahlerian influences. It is profound, deeply sincere and builds in its finale to a quite splendid climax of real grandeur. If you don't know it I very strongly recommend this work!

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2008, 05:27:55 PM »
No comments!  :D   Just wanted to add a post to this thread to keep tract of the recommendations - have no recordings of this composer at the moment, but as many of us here, I'm a great fan of 'forgotten' composers, and particularly from eastern Europe - will likely add several his discs to my collection in the near future!  So keep up w/ the suggestions! -   :)

Offline Brian

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2008, 03:24:32 PM »
but, of course, Foerster's masterpiece was the Symphony No.4 "Easter Eve"-either the old Supraphon under Smetacek or the more recent worthy Naxos version under Lance Friedel. This really must count as the greatest Czech symphony of the post Dvorak generation-a marriage of Foerster's Bohemian heritage with Brucknerian and Mahlerian influences. It is profound, deeply sincere and builds in its finale to a quite splendid climax of real grandeur. If you don't know it I very strongly recommend this work!
I'd agree that this work makes the best introduction to Foerster's world; it was my introduction, and unfortunately remains the only work I have by the composer. (I have the Friedel/Naxos.)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2008, 03:40:39 PM »
I'd agree that this work makes the best introduction to Foerster's world; it was my introduction, and unfortunately remains the only work I have by the composer. (I have the Friedel/Naxos.)

Explore the rest by all means but I have to admit that nothing I have heard so far matches the 4th symphony. Looking forward to hearing Nos. 3 and 5 though when MDG get round to recording them.

Offline Brian

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2013, 03:48:08 PM »
Next month Naxos commences a new series of Fibich's orchestral works.



Quote
FIBICH, Z.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 1 / Impressions from the Countryside (Czech National Symphony, Stilec)

Zdenĕk Fibich’s career overlapped those of his countrymen Smetana and Dvořák, but his music remained poised between the twin poles of Czech nationalism and the New German School. His earliest surviving symphony is No 1 in F major, Op 17, completed in Prague in 1883. Whilst it is the most conventional of his three symphonies it is excellently proportioned and reveals the influence of Schumann on his developing art. Impressions from the Countryside, Op 54 is, in effect, a symphonic suite and was highly influential on the younger generation of Czech composers.

Fibich, Zdenek
Symphony No. 1 in F major, Op. 17
1.         I. Allegro moderato 00:16:14
2.         II. Scherzo: Allegro assai 00:05:45
3.         III. Adagio non troppo (alla romanza) 00:05:10
4.         IV. Finale: Allegro con fuoco e vivace 00:09:33
Impressions from the Countryside, Op. 54
5.         I. Moonlit Night (Mesicna noc) 00:02:56
6.         II. Country Dance (Sousedska) 00:03:06
7.         III. Highlands Ho (Vzhuru) 00:04:11
8.         IV. Fireside Talk (Na tackach) 00:07:19
9.         V. Village Dance (Tanec v zeleni) 00:07:51
      
Total Playing Time: 01:02:05

Offline thulium

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2013, 01:06:49 PM »
Actually the Czechs have really good composers, who lived in the shadow of great composers like Dvorak and Fibich is one of them. Another great composer is Josef Suk, I highly recommend you to hear his Fantastique Scherzo for orchestra! :)

Offline North Star

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 04:14:56 PM »
Actually the Czechs have really good composers, who lived in the shadow of great composers like Dvorak and Fibich is one of them. Another great composer is Josef Suk, I highly recommend you to hear his Fantastique Scherzo for orchestra! :)
Welcome to the forum!
Suk is certainly great, and there's a thread for him already here. Lots of other great Czech music from the first half of the 20th century, like Martinu, Hába, Schulhoff, and Haas.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 06:30:54 AM by North Star »
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Offline thulium

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2013, 04:50:55 AM »
Thank you! It is really a great forum for classical music! I am happy that I found it!

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2013, 06:38:42 AM »
Welcome to the forum!
Suk is certainly great, and there's a thread for him already here. Lots of other great Czech music from the first half of the 20th century, like Martinu, Hába, Schulhoff, and Haas.

You didn't even mention Janacek, Karlo?!?!? For shame! This is the first composer I recommend to people inquiring about Czech music.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 06:57:59 AM by Mirror Image »
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2013, 06:45:50 AM »
No comments!  :D   Just wanted to add a post to this thread to keep tract of the recommendations - have no recordings of this composer at the moment, but as many of us here, I'm a great fan of 'forgotten' composers, and particularly from eastern Europe - will likely add several his discs to my collection in the near future!  So keep up w/ the suggestions! -   :)

BOY!  Five years ago, I was about to add Fibich to my collection but forgot - well, never too late - CDs below just ordered - :)

 

Offline North Star

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2013, 07:13:17 AM »
You didn't even mention Janacek, Karlo?!?!? For shame! This is the first composer I recommend to people inquiring about a Czech composer.
He's pretty good, too  8), but quite a bit older than the others, even if one recognizes his late blooming.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2013, 07:28:51 AM »
He's pretty good, too  8), but quite a bit older than the others, even if one recognizes his late blooming.

The age thing doesn't matter, Karlo. He was one of the greatest late-bloomers in classical music ever. Roussel should be counted here as well.
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Offline North Star

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Re: Zdenek Fibich - A Lesser-Known But Worthy Czech Composer
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2013, 09:16:29 AM »
The age thing doesn't matter, Karlo. He was one of the greatest late-bloomers in classical music ever. Roussel should be counted here as well.
Of course it doesn't matter, John. I was just thinking of the younger generation, who are also by far less well known than Janacek. I certainly agree that Janacek is the gateway composer.
And as for Czech composer recommendations, Zelenka, Dvorak, and Janacek are definitely the big four.
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