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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


NOVAK, Vitezslav
b Kamenice nad Lipou, Bohemia, 5 December 1870
d Skutec, near Prague, 10 July 1949, aged seventy-eight

His potential was not apparent until his teens, when in 1889 he went to Prague University to study law and instead devoted his time and money to music. He became a remarkable pianist and started to compose, studying under Dvorak He lacked confidence in himself and made his living by teaching. A holiday in the Czech countryside and his discovery of its folk idiom revitalised him, however, and by 1900 he was at the height of his creative powers, becoming the outstanding Czech composer of the day. In 1909 he was made professor of the composition master-class at the Prague Conservatory, and was elected to the Czech Academy. His popularity became overshadowed by Janacek, but he continued teaching, his association with the Conservatory lasting over thirty years.

1892 (22)

Korzar, overture

1894-5 (24-5)

Serenade in F for small orchestra

1895 (25)

Piano Concerto

1898 (28)

Two Ballads for chorus and piano duet

Marysia, dramatic overture

1900 (30)

Two Ballads for chorus and piano duet

1901 (31)

Two Choruses for female chorus and piano

1902 (32)

In the Tatra Mountains, symphonic poem

1903 (33)

Slovak Suite, for small orchestra

Eternal Longing, for orchestra

1905 (35)

Serenade in D for small orchestra

1906 (36)

Toman and the Wood-nymph, symphonic poem

Six male choruses

1907 (37)

Lady Godiva, overture

1908-10 (38 40)

The Storm, for soli, chorus and orchestra

1911 (41)

On Native Soil, for eight male choruses

1912 (42)

Four Poems for chorus

The Wedding Shift, for soli, chorus and orchestra

1913-14 (43-4)

The Zvickov Imp, comic opera

1914-15 (44-5)

A Night in Karlstejn, opera

1916-17 (46-7)

Strength and Defiance, for six male choruses

1918 (48)

Three Czech Songs for male chorus and orchestra

1919-22 (49-52)

Lucerna, musical fairy-tale

1922-5 (52-5)

Grandfather's Legacy, opera

1926-8 (56-8)

Signorina Gioventu, ballet-pantomime

1929 (59)

Nikotina, ballet-pantomime

1931 (61)

Twelve Lullabies for female chorus

Autumn Symphony, for mixed chorus and orchestra

1932 (62)

From Life, for twelve male choruses

1936 (66)

South Bohemian Suite, for orchestra

1941 (71)

De Profundis, symphonic poem

St Wenceslas Triptych, for organ and orchestra

Homme, for six male choruses

1942 (72)

Five mixed choruses

Ten children's choruses

1943 (73)

May Symphony, for soli, chorus and orchestra

1948 (78)

Zizka, incidental music

Song of the Zlin Workers, small cantata

1949 (79)

Stars, for female chorus and orchestra

Novak also wrote chamber and instrumental works and songs, and some folk-song arrangements.

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