Novak - Orchestral Works Vol.2 | Naxos 8574369

Novak - Orchestral Works Vol.2


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Label: Naxos

Cat No: 8574369

Barcode: 0747313436972

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 28th April 2023



Pavel Svoboda (organ)
Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava


Marek Stilec


Novak, Vitezslav

De profundis, op.67
Slovacko Suite, op.32
Wallachian Dances (2), op.34 (orchestral version)


Pavel Svoboda (organ)
Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava


Marek Stilec


Vitĕzslav Novák was one of the most important Czech composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Moravian-Slovak Suite is one of his most popular works, evoking an eventful and romancefilled day in a Slovakian village. Recorded here for the first time since its rediscovery by producer Jiří Štilec, the Two Wallachian Dances further invoke Novák’s passion for folk music. De profundis was written during the dark days of the Second World War. It includes an important part for organ which is unleashed with full force in one of the most triumphant conclusions in all of 20th-century music.

Despite his undoubted skill as a master portrayer of poignant atmosphere and monumental landscape, the music of Vitĕzslav Novák is surprisingly little known outside of his Bohemian homeland. Most of the alternative recordings for these works are relatively antique versions with Czech national orchestras on the Supraphon label, though De profundis has appeared more recently on a Chandos recording with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Libor Pešek. Inhabiting comparable worlds to those of Smetana and Dvořák as well as introducing the luminous influence of Debussy, Novák’s works merely need a little extra exposure to become more mainstream and popular, and this new Naxos edition will certainly help raise his reputation with wider audiences.

This second volume of orchestral works by Vítězslav Novák follows on from a first volume (8574226) released in December 2020 to wide acclaim. ‘Štilec’s performance can hold its head up high as an overall first choice, both interpretively and sonically’ (Fanfare). concluded that this is ‘juicy stuff, succulently performed here by Marek Štilec and the Moravian Philharmonic… lovely performances, warmly engineered.’

Marek Štilec considers this album to be unequalled in representing the music of Vítězslav Novák, from the popular and iconic Moravian-Slovak Suite to the much later De profundis, which shares the same intense and expressive worlds as Britten’s War Requiem and Martinů’s Field Mass. Štilec’s recognition of the complexity of De profundis and the need to make its contrapuntal qualities clear to the listener made rising to its challenges one of his most satisfying achievements for Naxos.

Czech conductor Marek Štilec is known as an interpreter of Classical orchestral repertoire and is a specialist in Czech Romantic and contemporary music. A prolific recording artist, he has made over 30 discs for labels including Naxos, ArcoDiva, cpo and Supraphon. In the field of historically informed performance Štilec has collaborated with ensembles including Czech Ensemble Baroque and Ensemble 18+. He is also the founder of the Wranitzky Kapelle and artistic director of Academy Prague Mannheim with Das Kurpfälzische Kammerorchester Mannheim. Since 2020 he has been the permanent principal choirmaster of the Czech Boys’ Choir, Boni Pueri.

Organist Pavel Svoboda is a laureate of the Prague Spring International Music Competition, and was awarded the Bachpreis at the Leipzig International Bach Competition 2016. From 2017 to 2020, he was head of the department of Early Music at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and since 2020 has been the director of the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice.

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