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Falletta leads the BPO through Bohemian music


Novak, "In the Tatra Mountains," "Lady Godiva Overture" and "Eternal Longing" performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta (Naxos)

This is interesting. Vitezslav Novak (1870-1949) is hardly ever going to exceed the fame and affection that Smetana and Dvorak 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."

It's said that Novak wrote it in two days. Her famous ride naked through the streets is nothing if not tender and respectful.

"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.

3 stars (out of four)


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