WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Moyzes: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Slovak, Slovak Radio So


Release Date: 02/20/2001 
Label:  Marco Polo   Catalog #: 8225089   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alexander Moyzes
Conductor:  Ladislav Slovák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length:  1 Hours  4 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This second volume in Marco Polo's crucial survey of the symphonic cycle by the most prominent Slovak symphonist of the first half of the past century—Alexander Moyzes (1906-84)—comprises two consecutive though quite contrasted works.

The Third or "Little" Symphony of 1942 is one of the composer's shortest and least problematical, and thus an excellent point of entry into his musical world. It is adapted from an earlier wind quintet, and its atypical five-movement format projects an easygoing and celebratory character. Though it opens with a near-Beethovenian motto-motif, which recurs in the finale and thus helps the piece from lapsing into a species of symphonic suite, the symphony quickly springs into an
Read more essentially joyous and eventful kind of momentum. With its relatively compact movements—a Larghetto Variazioni, Presto Scherzo, and Largamente Intermezzo framed by two highly charged Allegros— the work is suffused with Moyzes's very personal but also universalized distillation of the Slovak folk spirit.

The Fourth Symphony, however—initially written during the dark days of World War II and extensively revised in 1952—is a very different kind of piece. Scored for a large orchestra and running 40 minutes, it is among the longest and most elevated of Moyzes's 12. Utilizing once again an integrative motto-theme, it is usually interpreted as both a protest against war and a healing evocation of the Slovak past and countryside. The 16-minute opening Andante con moto sets the tone for the whole work: one of expansive breadth and slowly unfolding narrative where the heroic and epic strains generate a high level of majesty and grandiloquence. These moods carry over through the quasi-Impressionist textures of the Adagio (in which a brief scherzo flare-up is embedded) and reach fulfillment in the guardedly affirmative Allegro moderato finale. Although the annotator speaks of stylistic parallels with Sibelius and Mahler, to these ears the idiom remains tenaciously Slovak in sonority and personality.

The veteran conductor Ladislav Slovak has been identified with the Fourth Symphony over many years, having recorded an analog version in the early 1960s. That earlier performance was perhaps somewhat tighter and more forceful than this more relaxed approach of three decades later. Nonetheless, this is a most sympathetic reading that succeeds in melding Moyzes's tendencies toward the rhetorical and the episodic into a satisfyingly coherent whole.

Another illuminating installment in the reconstruction of the mosaic of 20th-century Czech music, and an essential purchase for those whose interest focuses on the modern symphony.

-- Paul A. Snook, FANFARE [7/2001]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 3 in B flat major, Op. 17a by Alexander Moyzes
Conductor:  Ladislav Slovák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1942 
Date of Recording: 5/1994 
Venue:  Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio, Bratis 
Length: 23 Minutes 40 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 4 in E flat major, Op. 38 by Alexander Moyzes
Conductor:  Ladislav Slovák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1957 
Date of Recording: 10/1993 
Venue:  Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio, Bratis 
Length: 40 Minutes 36 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 3 in B flat major, Op. 17a by Alexander Moyzes
Conductor:  Ladislav Slovák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1942 
Date of Recording: 1994 
4.
Symphony no 4 in E flat major, Op. 38 by Alexander Moyzes
Conductor:  Ladislav Slovák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1957 
Date of Recording: 1993 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title