> Alexander Moyzes - Symphonies Nos 7 and 8 [RB]: Classical Reviews- January 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984)
Symphony No. 7 (1954-55)
Symphony No. 8 21.08.1968 (1968)
Slovak Radio SO/Ladislav Slovák
rec 2-8 Apr 1990, 2-4 Dec 1994, Concert Hall, Slovak Radio, Bratislava
MARCO POLO 8.225091 [70.29]

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Moyzes was a pupil of Vitezslav Novak. It was Novak who pointed out Slovak ethnic music as a valuable referential resource. So it proved. Moyzes found the nation's folk music a fecund source of inspiration and this is certainly evident in the Seventh Symphony.

Symphony No. 7: Everything is laid out with clarity and without coagulation of texture. This is atmospheric music against which a pastoral tragedy is played out. Harp and flute are to the fore in the first movement. The gentle Bartokian snap of the scherzo has a determined drivingly rhythmic blade. While this is music of structure and forwardly moving purpose the approach is essentially that of Kodaly and of Sibelius (compare the woodwind writing with the Finn's in his symphonies 3 and 4). Moyzes develops a disturbing and searching approach in the Largo. I have commented, in reviews of previous issues in the series, on Moyzes' largos. In this one, especially at moments such as 03.40, Moyzes expresses himself in tones similar to Shostakovich. The finale is rather a mish-mash. It is natural that such movements will recycle material from earlier movements but this does not seem fully synthesised and rather lets the side down. Picturesque though.

The Eighth Symphony was sparked by the USSR invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Unsurprisingly the composer moves from the legato pastoral style to a much more disjointed floor-plan. This is a symphony of micro-episodes and the knowing music speaks of alienation and discontinuity. This is far more barbaric than his earlier creations and may be likened to Malcolm Arnold (symphonies 7 and 9) in sour and dismal prophecy. Even the final lento leading into allegro is mildewed, barkbrod and haughty. The violin solo at 7.20 sings the lullaby of the bereft rather than of contentment.

Essential notes supplied by Ivan Marton.

This is the fourth issue in the Marco Polo series of the twelve Moyzes symphonies. Not the place to start your Moyzes Odyssey but a tidy way of showing Moyzes' migration from pastoral perfection to the acrid tragedy of an uncaring century.

Rob Barnett



Earlier issues in this series. Each has been reviewed for this site:-

Alexander MOYZES Symphonies 1 and 2 Marco Polo 8.225088

Alexander MOYZES Symphonies 3 and 4 Marco Polo 8.225089

Alexander MOYZES Symphonies 5 and 6 Marco Polo 8.225090

Alexander Moyzes Symphonies 9 and 10 Marco Polo 8.225092

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