Brahms

Article excerpt

Libor Novacek--piano. Production: Landor Productions Ltd. Text: Eng., Ger., Fr. Recorded: Jan. 2008, Potton Hall, Suffolk. Released: 2008. TT: 75:48. DDD. 1 CD Landor Records LAN285.

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Last year in England the pianist Libor Novacek recorded what is already his third CD title, this time devoted to the music of Johannes Brahms. This CD can boast generally enthusiastic reviews and praise in the most prestigious magazines--for example the recording won a five-star rating and the honour of "Instrumental Choice" in the BBC Music Magazine and was "Editores choice" in The Gramophone selection. Both of the pianist's preceding CDs had also won considerable acclaim, earning Novacek the reputation of one of the greatest piano hopes of the present (in 2007 he made a CD devoted to Franz Liszt and the year before he recorded pieces by Janacek, Martinu, Ravel and Debussy). All three compact discs have been published by Landor Productions Ltd., which focuses on the support of major talents at the beginning of their careers. Victory in the first year of the competition held by this company (2005) brought Novacek a long-term contract to record CDs.

Since 1999 Libor Novacek (*1979) has been studying and living in London, where be graduated summa cum laude from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2004. In the same year be was selected to represent the Young Concert Artist Trust in London and won a number of important awards at international competitions (John Lill Piano Prize, The AXA Dublin International Piano Competition 2006). The repertoire of this Brahms title is chosen with care: beside a poetically virtuoso, surprisingly mature composition by the young Brahms (Sonata in F sharp minor, op. 2 of 1852) we find the Eight Piano Pieces, op. 76 from the creative zenith of Brahms's career and then Three Intermezzos, op. 117, from the last phase of Brahms's work.

Robert Schumann called Brahms's early piano sonatas "veiled symphonies" and they indeed prefigure much that the composer later developed and elaborated in his symphonic work. With his colourful, delicate play, Novacek captivates the listener from the very beginning. …