Songs of Zhivago

NEOS 10711CD NEOS 10711CD

2007 release. Stereo/5.1 multichannel hybrid CD/SACD release that can be played on any CD player. In 1958 Boris Pasternak, the author of the novel Doctor Zhivago, received the Nobel Prize but was compelled by the Soviet regime to turn it down. The Czech-born composer Ladislav Kub¡k, who lives in the United States, sees the poem that Pasternak placed at the end of his novel as a self-portrait and used it to create his own magnum opus for tenor and orchestra. "Concerto Breve" for piano and orchestra (1998) follows in terms of structure the principles of the classical concerto, albeit in somewhat abbreviated form. Three main sections correspond to the usual form of slow-fast-slow. The piano plays its role as solo instrument effectively but is never overly virtuosic. In the debate over the general intelligibility of New Music, Kub¡k offers for discussion here a work of great accessibility, directness, and emotionality. "Sinfonietta No. 2" is composed of three interconnected movements (attacca). While the introductory Allegro agile and the subsequent Presto furioso depict primarily the confusion and brutality of the world, the final movement, Andante, molto introspectivo, offers a spiritual catharsis. Kub¡k takes up an episode from the New Testament (Jesus?s conversation with a woman at Jacob?s Well) and depicts the well as the source of living water, as a symbol of healing forces and growing faith in everything pure and essential, which is all that lasts eternally. Adrian Thompson (tenor), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Ronald Zollman (conductor), Joanna Sobkowska (piano), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vladim¡r V lek (conductor).