Vitezslav Novák

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Novák, Vitězslav

 

Born Dec. 5, 1870, in Kamenice; died July 18, 1949, in Skuteč. Czech composer. People’s Artist of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1945).

Nová k studied music theory under K. Knittl and K. Šteker and composition under A. Dvořák and K. Bendl. In 1909 he became a teacher at the Prague Conservatory; he served as director of the conservatory from 1919 to 1922. From 1919 to 1939 he was a professor of composition at the conservatory’s master school. Among his students were O. Jeremíáš, J. Jeremiáš, and A. Hába.

Novák was one of the founders (after Dvořák) of Czech musical pedagogy. His compositions incorporated many aspects of Slovak and Moravian folk music: themes, modal-intonational features, and harmonic language. At the same time, his music reveals the influence of C. Debussy, R. Strauss, and N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov. Novák maintained professional contact with many Russian composers; he corresponded with M. A. Balakirev, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, and A. K. Glazunov.

Novák is famous for composing in diverse styles and working in a variety of genres. He composed four operas, including The Lantern (1923, Prague); two ballet-pantomimes (both premiered in 1930); and works for soloists, chorus, and orchestra (Autumn Symphony, 1934). He is the composer of the Saint Vá clav [Wenceslaus] Triptych (for organ, 1941; for orchestra, 1942), the May Symphony (devoted to the liberation of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic from the fascist occupation in 1945), and several symphonic poems. Novák also composed overtures and suites; a concerto for piano and orchestra; chamber music; and cycles of Slovak folk songs for voice, piano, and choir.

REFERENCES

Belza, I. Vitezslav Novak. Moscow, 1957.
Lébl, V. Vitézslav Novák. Prague-Bratislava, 1969.

A. G. IUSFIN

References in periodicals archive ?
After completing his studies at the Organ School in Brno, he further honed his compositional skills in Prague with Vitezslav Novak and, at the very beginning of the 1920S, again in Brno in Janacek's master class.
After a period of preparation, Husa entered the Conservatory in 1941, joining the composition class of the distinguished composer, harpist, and pedagogue Jaroslav Ridky, Ridky, who idolized Mahler, introduced his students to the works of twentieth-century Czech composers such as Vitezslav Novak, Josef Suk, and, above all, Leos Janacek.
After graduating from Janaecek's Organ School in 1903, he moved to Prague, where he studied at the Conservatory with Karel Stecker and Karel Knittl and attended private lessons with Vitezslav Novak.
Unfortunately, only the Slavonic Dances and several other albums (besides Vitezslav Novak pieces, an outstanding disc containing Bohuslav Martinu's Double Concerto) could have been recorded in stereo.
The most gifted of Dvorak's students included Josef Suk, Vitezslav Novak and Rudolf Karel, who subsequently taught at the school themselves, Oskar Nedbal, Julius Fucik and others.
27 by Vitezslav Novak has the secondary title "Quasi una Ballata".
The protagonists of the Czech inter-war avant-garde are very closely linked to the Czech modern movement in music, which in its first generation included the composers Leos Janacek (1854-1928) and Vitezslav Novak (1870-1949), and also Josef Suk (1874-1935), who like Novak had been a pupil of Antonin Dvorak, as well as Otakar Ostrcil (1879-1935), not only a composer but an enlightened promoter of avant-garde music in the years when he was head of the opera of the National Theatre in Prague.
Vitezslav Novak Sonata in D minor for Violin and Piano
For me the clear high point of the new CD is the marvellously expressively treated cycle, Fairytale of the Heart by Vitezslav Novak.
She was accepted into the prestigious masterclasses of the leading Czech composer Vitezslav Novak and the conductor Vaclav Talich, and her music was soon heard at the concerts of the two most important societies of contemporary music in Prague in the 1930s: Pritomnost and Umelecka Beseda.
As examples he adduces Vitezslav Novak and Josef Suk, from whom great things were expected but from whom nothing great had yet been forthcoming.
One of Kaan's pupils was Karel Hoffmeister, the pianist contemporary of Vitezslav Novak and Josef Suk.