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Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984)
Symphony No. 9 (1971) [37.05]
Symphony No. 10 (1977-78) [32.50]
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ladislav Slovák
rec. 1994/95, Concert Hall, Slovak Radio, Bratislava, Slovakia
NAXOS 8.573654 [69.54]

This CD is uniform with the full-price Marco Polo series to which it traces its origins. It was reviewed in that form in 2002.

As the years passed by Moyzes' symphonies at times became increasingly querulous, diaphanous in texture and probing.

With his three-movement Ninth Symphony Moyzes was far distant from any suggestion of heavily-laden orchestration. There’s a Mahlerian subtext to this music but it rather favours the lacy delicacy of Das Lied's ‘Abschied’ but also has an acrid over-taste similar to that of the two symphonies by Kurt Weill. The second movement is a soulful Andante with influence from Shostakovich. There is some uproarious work for horn and trombone in the Allegro con brio and its final minutes are gripping. The solo violin calls out in sorrow before a rushing crescendo. Was that final perfunctory gesture only added for politically compliant purposes? I suspect so. The Ninth was premiered on 26 September 1971 by Zdenĕk Košler conducting the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava.

While the Ninth is in three movements the Tenth is in four and is shorter by five minutes. The work is attractive but has an indeterminate or elusive profile. Even so it could easily have been dubbed “The Classical”. A lovely, almost vibrato-free solo for the French horn marks out the very romantic Larghetto (III). The finale is bipartite: a chilly Andante tranquillo and a final Allegro that embraces celebration. The Tenth first saw light of day on 3 May 1979 in Bratislava with the present conductor directing again the Slovak Phil.

The essential and succinct notes are by Ivan Marton and are in English.

Two symphonies in - and out of - the disillusioned and cynical tradition, the roots for which were struck by Kurt Weill in his two symphonies. If number of days spent in the recording studio is anything to go by these are no mere run-throughs and the listening experience bears this out. The symphonies are heard as statements of faith and conviction that yet retain the convincing semblance of vitality rather than having been over-tutored.

Rob Barnett

Reviews of the series on Naxos
Symphonies 1 and 2
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