The Czech composer Vítězslav Novák (1870 - 1949) first became aware of his artistic talent relatively late, while a student at the gymnasium in Jindřichův Hradec, and from then on embarked ona systematic and active cultivation of his musical gift, initially under the tutelage of local orchestra conductor Pojman. Still then he earned a repute as a brilliant pianist, giving proof ofenviable performing skills which he subsequently still refined during conservatory lessons with Josef Jiránek. As a student of Antonín Dvořák's class, moreover, he saw the development of his compositional talent as well. The outcome of these compound early educative influences were several outstanding piano cycles which - for all their unbridled youthful temperament which sets them within acategory in its own right, standing apart from the crux of Novák's oeuvre - by and large do aspire to a relevant niche in the gallery of Czech piano music. They encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from delightful romantic genre pictures (as in Sonatinas or Youth), to works conveying a serious philosophical message (such as the nearly hour-long, five-movement monumental composition, Pan). Novák's work requires an interpreter whose art combines the utmost technical sovereignty with creative and human maturity. In either respect, one could hardly imagine a better choice than wasFrantišek Rauch (1910 - 1996), a loving champion and erudite propagator of Czech piano literature, and moreover Novák's personal pupil.
Novák on the wings of youthful zest and deep in meditation.