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I/T Tatra Mountains/Eternal Lo


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 22 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin Classics/EMI
  • ASIN: B000002SR4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,815 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. In the Tatra mountains: In der Tatra. Dans les Tatars, op.26
2. Eternal longing: Von ewiger Sehnsucht. Eternel desir, op.33
3. Slovak Ste: Slovakische Ste.Ste Slovaque, op.32
4. Slovak Ste: Slovakische Ste.Ste Slovaque, op.32
5. Slovak Ste: Slovakische Ste.Ste Slovaque, op.32
6. Slovak Ste: Slovakische Ste.Ste Slovaque, op.32
7. Slovak Ste: Slovakische Ste.Ste Slovaque, op.32

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Bertonneau on Dec 8 2000
Format: Audio CD
Mountains and mysticism go together. As classicist and anthropologist Walter Burkert notes in his study of "Greek Religion," the Neolithic and Bronze Ages left mountaintop altars all across Anatolia, the Balkans, and the islands and mainland of Greece The practice continued into the historical period. Altitude brought one closer to the Sky God, apparently, whether one called him Teshub as among the Hittites, Zeus as among the Greeks, or Pernunos as among the Scythians, those ancestors of the Slavs. Thus Liszt ("Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne"), d'Indy ("Un jour d'été à la montagne"), Delius ("Song of the high Hills"), and Strauss ("Ein Alpensinfonie") - like Nietzsche's Zarathustra - all discover a common theophany in the elevation of a dolomitic scene. So too does that odd man out among the successors of Dvorák in Czech music, Vitêszlav Novák (1870-1949) in his tone-poem "In the Tatras" (1902), the first item on Libor Pešek's Virgin CD of three of that composer's orchestral scores. Novák's sumptuous orchestration, the vividness of his episodes, the quiet sublimity of his finale all contribute to the effectiveness of the composition. Pešek understands that "In the Tatras" contains moments of darkness but that its mood conforms generally to that of optimism. He works up the snowstorm midway through to a real blizzard and then settles into the serenity of the last section, with its Delius-like absorption of the human subject into the great landscape about him. "Eternal Longing" (1903/04) takes its cues from H. C.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Novak's Magic Mountain Dec 8 2000
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mountains and mysticism go together. As classicist and anthropologist Walter Burkert notes in his study of "Greek Religion," the Neolithic and Bronze Ages left mountaintop altars all across Anatolia, the Balkans, and the islands and mainland of Greece The practice continued into the historical period. Altitude brought one closer to the Sky God, apparently, whether one called him Teshub as among the Hittites, Zeus as among the Greeks, or Pernunos as among the Scythians, those ancestors of the Slavs. Thus Liszt ("Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne"), d'Indy ("Un jour d'été à la montagne"), Delius ("Song of the high Hills"), and Strauss ("Ein Alpensinfonie") - like Nietzsche's Zarathustra - all discover a common theophany in the elevation of a dolomitic scene. So too does that odd man out among the successors of Dvorák in Czech music, Vitêszlav Novák (1870-1949) in his tone-poem "In the Tatras" (1902), the first item on Libor Pešek's Virgin CD of three of that composer's orchestral scores. Novák's sumptuous orchestration, the vividness of his episodes, the quiet sublimity of his finale all contribute to the effectiveness of the composition. Pešek understands that "In the Tatras" contains moments of darkness but that its mood conforms generally to that of optimism. He works up the snowstorm midway through to a real blizzard and then settles into the serenity of the last section, with its Delius-like absorption of the human subject into the great landscape about him. "Eternal Longing" (1903/04) takes its cues from H. C. Andersen's story of the same name and explores a phenomenon at the very core of the Romantic conception of art: The paradox of desire, the yearning of the soul for the very thing that lies, at last, beyond its reach, but which signifies a fuller, a sweeter, world than this one in which Fate decrees that we should dwell. The opening shows Novák borrowing a few stock gestures from Debussy's impressionism: Namely, the string-undulations over harp-glissandi - moonlight on the water, in standard musical iconography. (Andersen's story invokes this image.) From this beginning, Novák develops a lengthy Tristanesque passage dominated mostly by the strings but breaking into the full orchestra at its climax; the pealing of the main theme in the horns is quite thrilling, after which calmer music for a time prevails. Novák repeats this basic pattern, a slow buildup to a sustained climax followed by dénouement, three times in the course of the work's twenty minutes or so. The "Slovak Suite" (1903) belongs much more to the Smetana-Dvorák school, drawing as it does on obvious folk-sources. This has always been the most current of Novák's orchestral works. Pešek has transferred his recording activity to Chandos, who have just issued another trio of Novák's orchestral works ("Lady Godiva," "Tomán and the Wood Nymph," and "De Profundis"); the two discs constitute a set despite their separate producers. "In the Tatras" and "Eternal Longing" also appear together on a Supraphon CD conducted by Karel Sejna. I give Pešek the edge. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic turns in velvety smooth performances.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
East Europe Via England, and Easy on the Ears Sept. 28 2008
By Moldyoldie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was recommended to me as a possible "in-kind" short-term departure from Sibelius. Vítezslav Novák (d. 1949) was among those post-Dvorák Czech composers who carried on in the late-Romantic tradition. By virtue of his circumstances, his music here borrows from Slovak and Moravian inspirations. All three of these works feature a dramatic sense of time and place abetted by a preponderance of long, undulating melodic lines. Orchestral color is accented with brief recurring flourishes from a host of exotic timbres, especially the harp and various percussion. Eternal Longing is probably the most musically substantive work here -- a most affecting Romantic expression full of dramatically extended crescendos and beautiful legato melodies that can set the heart reeling apace. The lengthier Slovak Suite is marked by the same beautiful lyrical expression which lays easy on the ear while ultimately weighing lightly and positively on the mind.

However, despite Czech conductor Pesek's presence on the podium, all this music as presented here takes on more the flavor of pastoral England than anything one would think of as being East European; i.e., I hear much more that's redolent of Delius than of Dvorák! I'm sure the fine playing of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which here sounds as English as any band I've heard, as well as the semi-spacious recording from Virgin, more diaphanous than truly vivid, have much to do with this impression. I would hazard to guess that a native orchestra would lend a much more idiomatic flavor to the proceedings, if that is indeed what the listener seeks. That consideration aside, however, this recording presents a most beautiful, elegant, and musically homogeneous program lasting well over an hour -- indeed, a most delicious, if less substantial respite from Sibelius.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful music, but are the performances missing something? May 30 2011
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Novak's music is lushly late romantic and dramatic, and sounds overall more like Richard Strauss than Dvorak. The folk music inspiration is actually stronger than it may sound to "non-Czech" ears - the melodic profile is deeply rooted in folk music, but it is treated in a manner that makes it sound more "generically late romantic" (I mean that in a non-pejorative sense). That is not to deny that Novak's music exhibit a personal voice, and although his music may not always be strikingly individual, it is superbly crafted, excellently scored and full of strong melodic ideas.

The Slovak Suite is of course one of his more immediately noticeably folk-music based work; it is a gorgeously atmospheric but big-boned work, full of ravishing moments (indeed the invention rarely if ever flags throughout its relatively substantial duration); the movement "At Church" must be singled out in particular as one of the more stirring examples of deeply felt tone painting. Pesek's recording with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is overall excellent, full of spirit, power and color, but it sometimes come across as a little too sleek (a more "Slovak-sounding" (whatever that is) profile may have benefited the performance even further) - could one even say that it is slightly anonymous? Another notable problem is taht the organ in "At Church" is misbalanced to the effect that it completely obliterates much of the orchestral detail.

Although the Slovak Suite may be the strongest work on the disc (it is a near-masterpiece), the two symphonic poems are stirring, powerful works as well. "In the Tatra Mountains" lets Novak exploit his whole range of colors and tone-painting skills, and the result is certainly an imaginative, wonderful series of atmospheres or impressions convincingly pulled together. "Eternal Longing" has fared well on disc, but is somehow the work the impressed me the least - it is still an imaginative, colorful and memorable score, but perhaps containing a few too many standard fin-de-siècle ploys. I have fewer qualms about the performances of either of the symphonic poems, however, although I am perhaps still missing a little in "Eternal Longing". The sound quality is, apart from the balance problems mentioned with respect to the Slovak Suite, pretty good though perhaps not ideally vivid. Five stars for the symphonic poems overall (especially the Tatras), but it is the Slovak Suite that should be the main attraction and I am not sure it comes off as well as it might have.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Three Masterworks by Vitezslav Novak April 27 2014
By K.J. McGilp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording is a perfect introduction to the symphonic music of Novak. This CD contains three of Novak's most enduring works. The music was inspired by Slovak and Moravian songs blended with Novak's personal musical language. These pieces were all written between 1902 and 1904.
In the Tatras has been compared to the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss. This comparison is a generalization at best. Strauss wrote the Alpine roughly twelve years after Novak's piece and at 16 to 17 minutes, In the Tatras is much shorter than Strauss's impressive work. After all, many composers are inspired by mountains or other nature settings to create aural picture painting. In the Tatras is marvelously scored, stirring, and a joy to listen to.
Eternal Longing evokes the impressionistic imagery of Debussy. The music has the rhythms, feeling and depth of Wunderhorn period Mahler. It also leans toward Novak's compatriot, Leos Janacek. Early period Schoenberg can be detected as well. Eternal Longing is a highly expressive work with forward-looking elements.
The Slovak Suite is based on Russian and Ukrainian folk music. The opening reminds one of Dvorak, who was one of Novak's teachers. It is in five parts. In part 1's At Church, the orchestra is accompanied by an organist. It is noble and dignified, free of grandiosity. Remarkably poignant, touchingly human and sincere. Music for the soul. Part 2 is a children's scene that is lively and playful. Part 3's The Lover's, is a deeply felt andante which has an interestingly aggressive interlude. Part 4 is called The Ball. It contains folk rhythms and symphonic dance. Part 5, Night, has a mysterious opening and blossoms into an ode to man and nature.
Libor Pesek and the Royal Liverpool Orchestra are in top form. The recorded sound is excellent and the liner notes are highly informative. A great release full of glorious music. Perfect for newcomer's or for Novakian's who seek alternative recordings.
I would like to suggest Libor Pesek's other Novak recording on Chandos (with the BBC Philharmonic) containing the overture, Lady Godiva. It also includes De Profundis and Toman and the Wood Nymph. An excellent CD in every respect. I think all of the pieces mentioned in this review deserve a place in the standard repertoire.


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