Alexander Moyzes: Symphonies Nos 11 and 12

review moyzes x1 cong

Alexander Moyzes, who died in 1984, was one of the most significant figures in modern Slovak music. The sleeve notes say he created a style of composition that “was thoroughly Slovak in inspiration”, while taking account of contemporary trends in European music.

It’s expressive music and while not unmelodic, it’s also got no memorable sections. The sleeve notes talk of his technical skills, citing his “sophisticated, balanced, expressive and tense” composition in the 11th but also saying he does not repeat himself, which presumably means no repeated motifs for the listener to hold onto.

The 12th has more about it, which is probably why it’s the second piece on here; the stirring sections are more stirring than the 11th and the quiet sections more peaceful. The 11th is more of a mood piece, starting off with doom-laden percussion creating a mood that is rapidly dissipated by wind instruments. The 11th as a work is slightly lighter than the 12th and in, say, the opening andante is almost cheery enough to be a film score. The following allegretto has something of the circus about it.

A review we found said the 12th reflected the composer’s thoughts on life — it was completed only months before his death: “We have to take life as it is, with all its digressions, demands and haste”.

It’s not in any way difficult music but it’s perhaps aimed more at the connoisseur, one who appreciates the technical elements as much as wanting a good tune to hum along too, though some of the folkier elements are appealing and it’s not in any way solemn.
The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra performs, Ladislav Slovak conducts.

This is out on Naxos, 8.573655.



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