Novák, P: 24 Preludes & Fugues

Champs Hill Records: CHRCD016

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Novák, P: 24 Preludes & Fugues

Catalogue No:




Release date:

26th April 2011




75 minutes


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Novák, P: 24 Preludes & Fugues

William Howard (piano)



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Novákʼs music is intensely spiritual, and is truly modern in that it adds something completely new to what has existed before. At the same time it is not overtly radical; it does not seek to destroy the existing order and replace it with something new.

Novák retains strong links with tonality, but his tonality, with its frequent use of triads, sounds uniquely his.

The 24 Preludes and Fugues were written for the pianist William Howard over a 17-year period, and consequently reflect the evolution of Novákʼs musical language during this time. Many of them were premiered at the Dartington International Summer School.

This 75-minute work is divided into four ʻbooksʼ, the first two based on the Old Testament and the second two on the New Testament. Whereas the pieces in the first two books are distinct and individual, the cycle strives increasingly towards a unity of form as it develops, while at the same time revealing Novákʼs growing interest in unison and a consonance in his compositional language.

“I have no doubt that these 24 Preludes and Fugues are one of the finest piano works of our time...” David Matthews

Pavel Zemek Novák was born in Brno in 1957, and is one of the most individual and distinctive Czech composers of his generation. His large body of symphonic, choral, chamber and instrumental works reflects both his devout religious faith and his interest in Morovian folk traditions. William Howard, performing in this world premiere recording, is established as one of Britainʼs leading pianists, enjoying a career that has taken him to over 40 different countries, and has seen him perform on over 30 CDs. He has a very strong interest in Czech piano music, recognised by a medal awarded by the Czech Minister of Culture in 1986.

Pavel Zemek Novák: Book One (Old Testament)

Prelude One. The Creation of Heaven and Earth

Fugue One, The Creation of Man

Prelude Two. The Age of the Patriarchs

Fugue Two. Noah

Prelude Three. The Flood

Fugue Three. Noah's Ark

Prelude Four. The Departure of Abraham

Fugue Four. Abraham and Isaac

Prelude Five. The Burning Bush

Fugue Five. Moses

Prelude Six. Saul and David

Fugue Six. King David

Pavel Zemek Novák: Book Two (Old Testament)

Prelude Seven. Job

Fugue Seven. The Book of Proverbs

Prelude Eight. The Little Book of Psalms

Fugue Eight. The Little Book of Psalms

Prelude Nine. Ecclesiasticus

Fugue Nine. The Song of Songs

Prelude Ten. Elijah

Fugue Ten. Elisha

Prelude Eleven. The Lamentations of Jeremiah

Fugue Eleven. Jeremiah

Prelude Twelve. Isaiah

Fugue Twelve. Isaiah

Pavel Zemek Novák: Book Three (New Testament) - 'The Word became flesh and dwelt among us'

Prelude Thirteen

Fugue Thirteen

Prelude Fourteen

Fugue Fourteen

Prelude Fifteen

Fugue Fifteen

Prelude Sixteen

Fugue Sixteen

Prelude Seventeen

Fugue Seventeen

Prelude Eighteen. Aria, The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ on the Cross

Fugue Eighteen

Pavel Zemek Novák: Book Four (New Testament) - Landscapes of the Lamb

Fugue Nineteen

Postlude Nineteen

Fugue Twenty

Postlude Twenty

Fugue Twenty One

Postlude Twenty One

Fugue Twenty Two

Postlude Twenty Two

Fugue Twenty Three

Postlude Twenty Three

Parellel Fugue and Postlude Twenty Four

BBC Music Magazine

October 2011


“it's a work of tremendous virtuosity and drastic extremes of dynamic and register that expands to absorb a wealth of styles...Superb performance and stunning sound: a real discovery.”

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