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His father, Mikulás Moyzes, was established as a pioneer collector of Slovak folk music by 1918, and composed songs and choruses, chamber music and orchestral suites that all derive material from these sources. Not surprising that the son should do so too. Moyzes the elder died in 1944, and Alexander's Fifth Symphony is a homage which uses his father's Little Mountain Symphony as a starting point for the development of four neatly crafted movements that never stray far from the spirit of folk dances. It begins with a heroic energy that is a characteristic of much of Moyzes' symphonic work [listen -- track 1, 0:00-0:46]. The most substantial movement is the second, a mystic Adagio which might, in places, seem to wander similar musical byways to those found by Vaughan Williams [listen -- track 2, 10:18-11:08]. Its third movement is a scherzo which, in spite of the Mahlerian playfulness of its opening [listen -- track 3, 0:00-0:49] has dark depths [listen -- track 3, 2:56-3:50] with a faint hint of Sibelius, and the symphony's finale again reveals that heroic spirit [listen -- track 4, 4:16-4:59].

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Copyright © 15 May 2002 Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK




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