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David Hurwitz, November 2014

Štilec invests the music with extra splashes of color and firmer rhythm generally, and this attention to detail grips the attention more firmly. Certainly he has the orchestra playing with enthusiasm…Definitely worth following. © 2014 Read complete review

Film Music: The Neglected Art, August 2014

The overall feeling is positive and upbeat. One can hear the influence of Schumann.

I found it to be a charming recording that Stilec and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra perform well. It is nicely recorded with better than average high end and somewhat spacious in the separation of the instruments.

The two works on this CD give the listener an example of early and late Fibich sound like. It is an excellent starting point to hear what this forgotten composer sounds like. © 2014 Film Music: A Neglected Art Read complete review

Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, December 2013

An idiomatic performance from a “local” and accomplished orchestra, skilful conducting and first rate recording make this disc a real treat. If the rest of a promised Naxos series maintains this standard, Fibich’s reputation will justifiably deserve reappraisal. © MusicWeb International

WQXR (New York), September 2013

Zdenek Fibich (1850–1900) fell into the interstices of music history: born just after Dvořák, just before Janáček, and ultimately overshadowed by them both. Unlike the Czech nationalists, his music looked more broadly towards Western-European late Romanticism, which is probably why he lacked enduring advocates at home. It is thus interesting to listen to Fibich’s Symphony No 1 in F, Op 17, and his Op 54 symphonic suite Impressions from the Countryside, nicely performed by the Czech National Symphony. In both works Fibich displays a pleasant, mild Romanticism; the symphony has placid pastoral gestures and plenty of easygoing lyricism, and it concludes with a rousing finale. Impressions has some charming rustic dances that hint at Dvořák. © 2013 WQXR (New York)

Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, July 2013

Štilec and his band play here with a hugely attractive “rustic” tone that is entirely appropriate to these scores…

Štilec’s account is altogether lighter and more airy than that of his rivals, fully in keeping with the emphasis he places on the score’s pastoral elements. His is also an appropriately gentler and more relaxed approach…Thankfully the engineering team of Václav Roubal and Karek Soukeník has done a superb job of keeping the sound crystal clear…

The coupling on the Naxos disc, the op 54 Impressions from the countryside, gives Fibich full rein for his romanticism and is in this context an entirely apt one. It is equally well played. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Steven J Haller
American Record Guide, July 2013

Do you like Dvorak? Then you’ll like Fibich…we may be grateful to Naxos for such a fine introduction.

The horns open up the development with the Sibelian theme and the young Fibich expertly sets one theme against another, with much fetching writing for the woodwinds.

…Stilec fills out the program handsomely with a suite called Impressions from the Countryside…If you’re just starting out with Fibich, this is a good choice; I’m hoping there will be more to come. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide, May 2013

There is no question about the involvement of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under Marek Štilec in the music of Zdeněk Fibich…on another new Naxos CD: here the performers are entirely in command of the music and play it with sure strength and understanding…Impressions from the Countryside…contains some lovely, evocative music as well as some very well-orchestrated folk dances. © 2013 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2013

The sleeve promises that this will be the first volume of a Zdenĕk Fibich series, one of the almost forgotten Czech composers from the era of Smetana and Dvořák. He was certainly one of the most prolific, his output including seven operas, three symphonies and a vast number of piano pieces. While still in his teens he had attempted four operas, and was composing symphonic works in his early twenties. I came to love his music thirty-odd years ago with a recording of his dramatic opera, Sarka, and some years later with a fine recording of his two symphonies on Naxos (8.553699). Much of his musical education took place in Germany, and though we have a feeling of Czech nationalism in the First Symphony, that Germanic background is for ever present. It is such a tuneful and readily likeable score, I would place it on equal merit with Dvořák’s early symphonies, though Fibich does tend to fall in love with his major first movement theme. The scherzo is less volatile than we hear in Dvořák, though after a tender slow movement, Fibich ends the score with a most jovial finale. The five Impressions from the Countryside, are pastoral in style and content, the music having considerable charm, while the bassoon solo in Fireside Talk is an enchanting moment. Often with the impression of coming from a folk-music background, it is a strongly lyrical score, with some unexpected rhythmical twists. The young conductor, Marek Štilec draws very good playing from the Czech National Symphony, an orchestra that has given me much pleasure in the concert hall over many years. I much look forward to future editions. © David’s Review Corner

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