Friday, March 26, 2010

Fibich, the German Czech

Many people will be hard pressed to name a Czech composer beyond Dvorak, Smetana, Janacek, and possibly Suk and Martinu. Enter Zdenek Fibich (1850-1900), a contemporary of Dvorak who is far less heard than the quality of his works warrants. Being of mixed Czech/German descent, the nationalism of his more famous colleagues never dominated his output, which perhaps contributed to his neglect. His three symphonies in the German late romantic idiom are amongst his best works, highly melodic and emotional. This Naxos disc collects the first two (dating from 1883 and 1893) in great performances by the Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Mogrelia. Well worth investigating.