Libor Novacek

St Christopher

Libor Novacek
Event 8
Friday October 15th, 8.00pm 
Little Missenden Church

The Romantic piano
Franz Joseph Haydn
Sonata in C, Hob XVI/50
Frédéric Chopin
2 Nocturnes op48 • Ballade no 1 in G minor
Leoš Janáček
In the Mist
Franz Liszt
From Années de Pèlerinage I, Switzerland: Au Lac de Wallenstadt • Pastorale • Orage • La Vallée d’Obermann

This is an archived event from the 2010 Programme.

Libor Novacek piano

Libor Novacek leads us from Haydn's elegant classicism into the heart of red-blooded Romantic pianism. He has all the technique needed for the romantics, but he takes us right inside the music instead of treating it as a mere vehicle for virtuoso display.

"Liszt is red meat for the big beasts of the piano... The meditative, priestly aspect of Liszt is often eclipsed by virtuosic display. Not here, though. Softly, reflectively, Novacek portrays a deeper, introspective Liszt, seldom rising above double-forte" (Norman Lebrecht, CD of the Week)

"In many respects Novacek is an ideal Liszt interpreter, technically exacting yet aware that the composer's aim was not so much to push the player to his limits as to expand the piano's expressive capabilities and the descriptive and narrative possibilities of music. You're aware of a fine poetic sensibility at work here, yielding breathtaking results in the shorter pieces such as Au Lac de Wallenstadt and Pastorale" (Tim Ashley, The Guardian)

He includes two of Chopin's miraculously poetic Nocturnes and one Ballade - forms especially associated with Chopin's unique genius. The passionate and melodic first Ballade is surely one of his best-loved pieces - and the first of our Nocturnes is one of his most emotionally profound - a contemporary commentator called it "a masterly expression of a great powerful grief".

Janáček's music was inspired by the speech rhythms, songs and dances of his native country. As a Czech Libor is the ideal pianist to take us inside the composer's unique sound-world with this veiled and yearning masterpiece, the last of his great piano works.

The recital concludes with four masterly pieces from the Swiss book of Liszt's Anneés de Pelerinage (Years of pilgrimage).

"His sense of pace is leisurely and alluring, making the crystal-clear waters of Lac de Wallenstadt, marked Andante placido, not only placid but a veritable balm for the agitated spirit. Liszt's evocation of an alpine storm, Orage, sheds its familiar guise as a piano tour de force, to emerge as the sound portrait of a genuinely terrifying natural phenomenon. Infinite degrees of pianissimo shadings enhance the simple rusticity of the Pastorale and coax the faint sound of distant bells from Geneva as though through a fog. Rhetorical aptness is again the focus in Vallée d'Obermann, which seems less a case study in the numbness of depression than Obermann's plaintive search for existential meaning... Very highly recommended" (Patrick Rucker, International Record Review)

Libor Novacek's recent CD of Liszt's Swiss Anneés de Pelerinage drew a five star review from the Guardian's Tim Ashley, and many superlatives from other reviewers.

"Novacek performs nature impressions like Au Lac de Wallenstadt... with a tranquillity that has almost meditative qualities. In La vallée d´Obermann, the musically most challenging piece of the collection, he succeeds where not many others have done in covering the whole spectrum from brooding melancholy to rollicking euphoria, and for a few moments, reveals his eminent virtuoso qualities... Libor Novacek bestows upon us numerous moments of pure lyrical joy... One of the most interesting Liszt interpreters of our time" (Robert Nemecek, Piano News)

For more information on Libor Novacek, click here.

Concert sponsored by Roy K Phillips