|About this Recording
8.223278 - MOYZES: Gemer Dances / Down the River Vah
Alexander Moyzes (1906- )
Dances from Gemer Opus 51
Dance prelude from Kokava
Hayduks from Kolesne
The Little Bear from Rejdova
Down the River Váh Opus 26
At the Source
From Liptov to Oravy
Into the Danube's Embrace
Dances from Hron Opus 43
On a Flowering Meadow
Music after Work
Alexander Moyzes was the son of Mikulaš Moyzes, an important figure in the development of Slovak national music in the years leading up to 1918 and the establishment of Czechoslovakia. He was born in 1906 in north-west Slovakia and learned at first with his father before entering in 1925 the Prague Conservatory, where he studied organ, conducting and composition. He graduated in 1929, the occasion of his First Symphony, and went on to study in the master class of Vitezslav Novák, from which he graduated in the following year with his Overture for Orchestra, Opus 10. It was Novak too who directed his concentration on Slovak music, the source of his inspiration.
In 1929 Moyzes was appointed to the teaching staff of the Academy of Music in Bratislava, the Slovak capital. He was appointed professor of composition at the Bratislava Conservatory in 1941 and spent a number of years as principal music adviser to Radio Bratislava, until compelled to take leave in 1948. He became professor of composition at the Bratislava College of Musical Arts on its foundation and headed the College from 1965 to 1971.
With Eugen Suchon and Ján Cikker, Alexander Moyzes must be considered one of the three leading composers of his generation in Slovakia. He succeeded in creating a style of composition that was thoroughly Slovak in inspiration, yet nevertheless took account of contemporary trends in European music, a synthesis that he was to consolidate in his later years. As a teacher he proved influential and his pupils include almost all the leading composers of the middle generation in Slovak music.
Moyzes has particular distinction as a symphonist, his Ninth Symphony having been completed in 1971. His suite for large orchestra, Dances from Gemer, Opus 51, was written in 1956, the period of his Seventh Symphony. Its four characteristic movements epitomise the national music of Slovakia in form and idiom.
The suite Down the River Váh draws overt inspiration from the scenery of Slovakia, for which Moyzes had a particular affection, and was started in 1935 for the Czechoslovak Radio Orchestra. He returned to the work after the war, developing it into its present form. The suite opens with sources of the river, surrounded by the peaks of the Tatra mountains, from which it flows. The water tumbles down over the rocks, meeting as a river in the valley, and flowing on in a majestic hymn to the Morava and the Danube. The second movement finds the river passing through flowery meadows, where a shepherd plays his pipe, the sound echoing into the dusk as the sun sets. The river grows wilder and there is thunder and lightning, while river raftsmen negotiate the rapidly swirling waters through the gate of Slovakia, guarded by the old castle of Strecno. In Romance Moyzes recalls olden times, trumpeters calling noble guests to feasting in the castle, while the peasants suffered, protected only by outlaws who robbed the rich to help the poor. The suite ends as the Váh grows in size, rushing on to meet the Danube in the summer sunshine, with snatches of folk song and dance to be heard through its surging waters.
Moyzes wrote his Dances from Hron in 1930, seeking inspiration as so often in the folk-music of Slovakia, in this case in collaboration with the Slovak Folk Ensemble as far as the first two dances are concerned. To these he later added the Woodcutters' Dance, variations on a melody in free sonata form, and the final Music after Work, a large scale rondo. The Robbers' Dance opens in a darkening valley, where the mountain peaks are seen lit by the setting sun. A shepherd pipe sounds, as the robbers, one by one, approach the camp-fire and begin their dance, at first slowly, then with increasing energy.
In the second movement girls, dressed in national festive costume, dance in the fields, and this is followed by the Woodcutters' Dance. A bugle is heard, represented by the French horn, echoing in the mountains, and a bagpipe tune is started softly by the strings, joined by the rhythmic sound of the axe, growing in strength. The movement dies away to be followed by a cheerful festive dance in which energetic episodes alternate with gentler elements.
Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
The Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), the oldest symphonic ensemble in Slovakia, was founded in 1929 at the instance of Milos Ruppeldt and Oskar Nedbal, prominent personalities in the sphere of music. The orchestra was first conducted by the Prague conductor František Dyk and in the course of the past fifty years of its existence has worked under the batons of several prominent Czech and Slovak conductors. Ondrej Lenard was appointed its conductor in 1970 and in 1977 its conductor-in-chief. The orchestra has recently given a number of successful concerts both at home and abroad, in West and East Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, and Great Britain.
Ondrej Lenard was born in 1942 and had his early training in Bratislava, where, at the age of 17, he entered the Academy of Music and Drama, to study under Ludovit Rajter. His graduation concert in 1964 was given with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and during his two years of military service he conducted the Army Orchestral Ensemble, later renewing an earlier connection with the Slovak National Opera, where he has continued to direct performances.
Lenard's work with the Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in Bratislava began in 1970 and in 1977 he was appointed Principal Conductor. At the same time he has travelled widely abroad in Europe, the Americas, the Soviet Union and elsewhere as a guest conductor, and during his two years, from 1984 to 1986, as General Music Director of the Slovak National Opera recorded for Opus operas by Puccini, Gounod, Suchon and Bellini.
For Naxos Lenard has recorded symphonies by Tchaikovsky and works by Glazunov, Johann Strauss II, Verdi and Rimsky-Korsakov.
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