Notes and Editorial Reviews
Jan Novak's oeuvre has not received the attention it undoubtedly deserves. The composer himself considered "crucial and epochal" for his work the six months he spent in New York, during which time he took lessons from Bohuslav Martinu. Following his return home in 1948, he was expelled from the Czechoslovak Union of Composers owing to his openness and "commotions", yet he received commissions from leading film directors (Kachyna, Trnka, Zeman). In the wake of the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Novak and his family stayed abroad and lived in exile in Germany, Denmark and Italy. Novak was a banned composer in his homeland. His music is noted for its lightness, elegance, humour and slight provocation, and, in addition to Martinu and jazz, was inspired by Latin, which he perfectly mastered, applied (almost exclusively) in his works and also used in everyday life. The remarkable young Martinu Voices ensemble presents Jan Novak's choral pieces, with two of them released on CD for the very first time. A special guest on the album is the composer's daughter Clara Novakova, for whom he wrote the flute part in Invitatio pastorum. Jan Novak's choral works - new worlds well worth discovering.