Alexander Moyzes, one of the leading Slovakian composers of his generation, created a nationally inspired style that also assimilated trends aligning his music with contemporaries such as Shostakovich. The Eleventh Symphony builds on the success of the Tenth, intensifying its emotional impact and developing sophisticated cycles of transformation and variation. Simpler and more concise than preceding works, the Twelfth Symphony was Moyzes’ final orchestral statement and his ‘diary in music.’ He said it ‘also seeks to express my attitude to life… We have to take life as it is, with all its digressions, demands, and haste.’ The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra was established in 1929 as the first professional symphony orchestra in Slovakia. TheRead more orchestra is currently led by conductor Mario Kosik.
This is a most welcome reissue which will bring real delight, completing the six CDs devoted to the symphonies of Alexander Moyzes. These were first issued on the companion Marco Polo label, and are to be welcomed in the cheaper format. Despite the quarter of a century since first appearance, recording quality is very good throughout.
Moyzes’ composing voice is rather conservative, solidly tonal, but with a keen ear for orchestral effects, rhythmic certainty and a sense of forward movement. This is a composer who knows very well the capabilities of the orchestra and allies this to a strong sense of architecture and full use of the orchestral palette. A particular feature is the terraced sound allied to a voice which is strongly lyrical. The influence of dance is evident throughout his work, but that does not imply any lack of seriousness. An interesting example is found in the third movement – andante: un poco tenuto – of the 11th Symphony. A long tune with a sense of forward movement is developed, almost sotto voce, in the strings, with commentary from woodwind and other instruments, including a gradually more insistent drumbeat. There are hints of the funeral procession and dignified tragedy. Here there is no searching for novelty but a direct nobility. It is fascinating too to hear how various themes from the other movements are developed in the finale.
The twelfth symphony – Moyzes’ last orchestral piece – has a moving and eloquent sparseness of expression. The opening Allegro has a strongly marked tempo, with meditative interventions, the second movement, Andante sostenuto, is lyrical with occasional harsher interruption. The work overall is worth several replayings to reveal its depths: the beauties are less instantly evident than in the previous work.
Recordings are very good. The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra is a very capable ensemble and the late Ladislav Slovák (he died in 1999) gives the music space to breathe with no loss of momentum.
A most worthwhile release, and one to give great pleasure.
– MusicWeb International 9Michael Wilkinson) Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 11, Op. 79by Alexander Moyzes Conductor:
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1978; Czech Republic
Symphony no 12, Op. 83by Alexander Moyzes Conductor:
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1983; Czech Republic
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
A fitting finale to a fine seriesJuly 10, 2019By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA)See All My Reviews"This release completes Naxos' reissue of Alexander Moyzes symphonies. Their sister label, Marco Polo, first released these recordings nineteen years ago. As I said in the reviews of the previous volumes, it's good to have these works available again. Ladislav Slovak and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra share the same cultural background as Moyzes. And that understanding informs their performances, enabling them to bring out some of the more subtle points of Moyzes' writing. That being said, these definitely aren't audiophile recordings. Although I could hear a fair amount of detail, the overall sound of the ensemble seemed a little soft. There's nothing soft about the symphonies, though. Moyzes wrote in a mostly tonal style throughout his career and used it to great effect. Symphony No. 11 was completed in 1979. It was completed months after Symphony No. 10. The two works share the same general structure and emotional themes. But this work seems to go further. The dissonances seem sharper, and the thematic material more tightly connected. Moyzes' Symphony No. 12 was completed in 1983, months before his death. Moyzes is economical in the use of his material, each note placed to telling effect. Here Moyzes isn't as concerned about grand gestures as he is about stopping to take in the details. It's a fitting finale to an extraordinary career. Of course, I recommend all six volumes. But at the very least, invest in volumes 5 and 6. That way you can hear Symphonies 10 & 11 back-to-back. The comparison is revelatory."Report Abuse