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Ralph Graves
WTJU, February 2018

There are two things I admire about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta. First, their high performance standards. Even their basic repertoire recordings make you sit up and take notice. Second, their commitment to expanding the repertoire.

Experience has taught me that I can trust Falletta and the BSO. If they’ve taken the time to record music by an unfamiliar composer, it will be worth my while to listen to it.

Novák is an important composer in the Czech Republic, but little known beyond its borders. In an ideal world, these sympathetic performances by Falletta and the BPO would change that. © 2018 WTJU Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), September 2017

Emerging from the fertile background of Bohemian nationalism, Vítĕzslav Novák’s music achieved cult status in his homeland for its richness of melody and orchestral color. In the Tatra Mountains was inspired by the composer’s journeys in this magnificent region. Eternal Longing is based on a poem by Hans Christian Andersen, while the dramatic Lady Godiva Overture is considered one of his most powerful works. © 2017 WFMT (Chicago)

Herman Trotter
American Record Guide, September 2017

In Tatras there is a wonderful rising minor rumination that, with a lesser answering descent, is the thematic center of the work. It is by no means a theme-and-variations treatment, but its spirit seems to hover over the music, dropping in whole or fragments down into the lyrically absorbing procedure. This is spontaneous feeling music that always seems to know where it is going and that effortlessly carries its listeners along. Novak’s move into the agitated central section is done with finesse and wonderfully ingenious instrumentation. All of it is that way, with phrases you expect to be delivered one way tweaked slightly differently, revealing Novak’s mastery of form, color, and phrase-shaping so that the music feels fresh and bracing at every turn.

The other two works are illuminated with similar Novakian imagination. Eternal Longing, said to spring mysteriously from unrequited love and Hans Christian Anderson texts, has the same slow-fast-slow architecture as Tatras but has its own areas of originality. And Lady Godiva is full of energy, built on dark minor tonality to represent Godiva’s lordly and arrogant husband, with a sweet andante then bright major glitter to present her ladyship’s personality and her famed nude horseback ride to protest against her husband and his newly levied tax. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

James A. Altena
Fanfare, September 2017

JoAnn Falletta is noted for venturing effectively with her Buffalo Philharmonic into non-standard repertoire, and she does so here with winsome performances. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Paul E. Robinson
Classical Voice North America, August 2017

All three pieces have been recorded before—there is an especially strong performance of the Lady Godiva Overture by Libor Pešek and the BBC Philharmonic—but Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic have given us new versions that are as good as any of the older recordings. As captured by producer and engineer Tim Handley in Kleinhans Music Hall, the orchestra sounds rich and full, and all the solos are handled with real artistry. © 2017 Classical Voice North America Read complete review

David Hurwitz, July 2017

Here is yet another fine release from the Buffalo Philharmonic under its dynamic and enterprising conductor, JoAnn Falletta. All three of these works have been recorded before, almost exclusively by Czech artists, but the excellence of these performances shows, if any proof were necessary, that great music is unconstrained by national borders. …Falletta is clearly superior: swifter, more exciting, and every bit as well played and recorded. © 2017 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2017

JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra can be counted on to do justice to late-romantic, proto-impressionist scores. And so they do us a real service handling the ins and outs of composer Vítězslav Novák (1870-1949) and his In the Tatra Mountains.

The three works open Novák’s musical world with a maturity and a sense of motion and tone color painting that mark him as talented and eloquent. You can hear echoes of Bohemian folk music but indirectly for the most part, as if reflected by distance and wide spaces in woodlands or mountains.

Novak may be pretty well forgotten to most of us, but Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic give us very musical reasons to revel in his rediscovery. The three works give us much substance and pleasure. And so there is a good deal to appreciate on this disk.

Recommended. © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, June 2017

JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philarmonic Orchestra continue their championing of significant lesser known works that need to be heard more often. © 2017 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, May 2017

…JoAnn Falletta leads her Buffalo Philharmonic in three brief descriptive pieces by Novak: In the Tatra Mountains, the Lady Godiva Overture, and Eternal Longing. …Ms. Falletta does a fine job illuminating the color, excitement, solemnity, and nationalism of the works involved. © 2017 Classical Candor Read complete review

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, May 2017

Vitezslav Novak (1870–1949) is hardly ever going to exceed the fame and affection that Smetana and Dvořák have achieved among Bohemian composers.

But that’s not the point of this music, which is to introduce little-known Bohemian music chronologically situated midway between late Romanticism and modernism and conducted by Falletta who has, rather wonderfully, become somewhat of a specialist in that era with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. “In the Tatra Mountains dates from 1902 and “The Lady Godiva Overture” from 1907.”

“Eternal Longing” is from 1905 and is indirectly based on stories by Hans Christian Anderson. In many ways, it’s the most attractive piece on the disc, one whose emotional simplicity might translate best to international ears already so in love with Smetana and Dvorak. © 2017 The Buffalo News Read complete review, May 2017

…[disc] features three substantial Novák symphonic poems played by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta, whose programming is consistently interesting and innovative… © 2017 Read complete review

Robert Benson, May 2017

…excellent, well-recorded performances with the remarkable JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo Orchestra. © 2017 Read complete review

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, April 2017

Relatively neglected but richly colorful scores by Novak have opulent realization from the BPO under JoAnn Falletta. © 2017 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, April 2017

The lush timbres and monumental solemnity of In the Tatra Mountains were inspired by the composer’s journeys in this magnificent region. Eternal Longing is based on a poem by Hans Christian Andersen, while the dramatic Lady Godiva Overture, complete with tolling bells at the finale, was written by Novák in two days and is considered one of his most powerful works. © 2017 Classical CD Choice Read complete review

Colin Anderson, April 2017

…the disc as a whole, splendidly engineered by Tim Handley, is a real pleasure for JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic do Novák’s music proud. © 2017 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2017

Turn the clock back fifty years and not a single disc of music by Vítězslav Novák was on worldwide release, and even now he is little known outside of his homeland. It was the release of his Symphonic Poem, Pan, on Marco Polo label some twenty-five years ago that awakened my lasting interest in the works of this former pupil of Antonín Dvořák, his style reminiscent of the era of his mentor. On his home-ground, he was very highly regarded during his lifetime, even eclipsing fellow Czech composers that included Janáček, his readily likeable melodic content a perfect antidote to all that was happening to music in the early part of the century. His ability to speak fluently in English, Russian, German, French and Spanish gave him a wide access to the literary world, the central work on the disc being a picture of Lady Godiva that was made famous by the writing of Alfred Lord Tennyson. The extended Overture to the play staged in Prague in 1907, is for a large symphony orchestra and relates the story of the lady who—supposedly—rode naked through the English city of Coventry in protest to the taxes levied on the populous by her husband. The disc opens with the equally lengthy symphonic poem, V Tatrach (In the Tatra Mountains), a graphic description of Novák’s journey through the impressive mountain range between Czechoslovakia and Poland (beautifully captured on the disc’s cover). It has an epic quality that rivals Richard Strauss’s Alpine journey though less demonstratively expressed. Equally evocative is the title O vecne touze (Eternal Longing) the score’s erotic content based on stories by Hans Christian Andersen, though we cannot forget in the music the composer’s unrequited love at the time. Comparison with other recordings—few though there are—would place these performances from JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo Philharmonic in first position, and they enjoy exemplary sound quality. A ‘must have’ release. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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