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RESPLENDENT IMAGERY

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BILL NEWMAN discusses the
orchestral music of Víteslav Novák

<< Continued from page 2

The late symphonic poem De Profundis (1941) - a picture of the (Czech) nation suffering - I regard, along with 'The Storm', as Novák's masterwork. Here there is a parallel with the first movement of Mahler 6 with its organic 'fate' motif build-up, that finds a totally different, more concentrated utterance much later in Schoenberg's  A Survivor from Warsaw. Novák begins his 16 and a half minute work atonally, the opening lines of Psalm 130, 'Out of the depths have I cried' revealing orchestra sections unravelling discordances to find a true tonal path which progresses up the stave very gradually (Largo Lugubre - Appassionato doloroso - Meno largo, molto tranquillo) to a final Grandioso outburst, organ joining forces, to be abruptly cut off at the height of climax. Perhaps it is the exact antithesis of Strauss's Metamorphosen, but its impact is tremendous [listen - track 7, 0:00 - 0:58].

Pesek and the BBC Philharmonic, aided by wonderful sound from Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, impart its message to perfection. Indeed, this whole CD does the greatest honour to a sadly neglected genius.

 

Copyright © 1 July 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, Middlesex, UK

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