About this Recording
8.225092 - MOYZES: Symphonies Nos. 9 and 10
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Alexander Moyzes wrote his Symphony No. 9, Opus 69 in the early 1970s, scoring it for a large symphony orchestra and the first performance took place on 26th September 1971 during the Bratislava Music Festival, with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zdenek Kosler. With this symphony the composer enters the mature and perhaps the most spectacular stage of his artistic creation: his musical language is becoming more transparent, the formal structure is clear, the total musical process expressively reduced. This attitude might be a reaction to the political situation in Czechoslovakia after the Russian invasion, characterized by what was described as „normalisation" in all aspects of the economic, social and cultural life of the country. The Ninth Symphony is divided into three movements, each in tripartite form. The first Allegro ma non troppo starts with a slow introduction, thematically allied to the flute opening of the Seventh Symphony: the vivid and motoric middle section, while alternating with slow passages, varies the same motivic material: the final section reverts to the introduction. The second movement, Andante con moto, shows again the typical elements of Moyzes’ instrumental and thematic work. In the manner of the late Shostakovich symphonism, it reflects the gloomy and desperate atmosphere of developments in the country after the Soiet invasion. The middle section in marching tempo mounts to an ominous dynamic climax, then returning to a conciliatory pianissimo in the strings. The third movement, marked Allegro con brio, has an excited rhythmic and dynamic pulse, full of dramatic accents and contemplative solo violin passages. The music is impulsive, agitated, even nervous, constantly perturbed, distancing itself from any trace of the equanimity, harmony and happiness of the earlier Moyzes symphonies. It is no exaggeration to consider the symphony a musical description of the tragedy and hopeless situation of a violated country.

Unlike the Ninth Symphony, Symphony No.10, Opus 77, written in 1977 and 1978 and first performed on 3rd May 1979 by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra under Ladislav Slovák in Bratislava seems to have no political connotation. It is an even work, full of internal peace and harmony, avoiding extremes of desperation. Moyzes reverts here to the traditional four-movement cycle: a bright rustic Allegro without enigmatic harmonies and complicated thematic development, a dance Allegretto with filigree motivic variations, an impressive Larghetto and a joyful forward=pressing Finale. The symphony is painted in serene colours, dreamy in the slow movement and gay in the first and last movements. The central part of the symphony is the Larghetto. While in the composer‘s Seventh Symphony the slow movement has a deeply personal and tragic character, in the Tenth Symphony it is idyllic, a worthy inspiration derived from Tchaikovsky‘s Fifth Symphony, even with an identical horn solo at the beginning. Altogether Moyzes’ Tenth Symphony is an „opus perfectum", a proof of the composer‘s human and artistic maturity. It is typical of the last decade of his creative life, characterized by technological virtuosity, brilliant artistic design, formal elegance and unaffected feeling. Here Moyzes substantially reverts to the sources of the nineteenth-century orchestral tradition of Dvorák, Brahms and Tchaikovsky.

Ivan Marton


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