Zdenek Fibich overtures delight

Zdenek Fibich was almost an exact contemporary of Antonin Dovrak. And like his fellow Czech, Fibish’s music in infused with the energy of his country’s folk music. Volume Four of Naxos’ ongoing traversal of Fibich’s orchestral music is perhaps the most exciting installment so far.

The disc collects several of Fibich’s overtures, as well as the ballet music to hone of his opera, “Hedy.”. The scores are from Fibich operas, and all are real curtain- raisers. If you’re not familiar with Fibich,
these works share the same freshness and energy of Dvorak’s concert overtures.

The opera “Hedy” (based on Byron’s Don Juan) is filled with exciting ballet sequences, and the 17-minute concert suite Fibich created from it is a high point of the release. While perhaps not quite on par with Tchaikovsky, Fibich nevertheless manages to create charming dances that practically command the listener’s body to respond in some way — if not by dancing around the room, then at least by tapping one’s foot (as I did quite frequently).

Marek Stilec and the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubic play these works with the deep understanding only a native ensemble can bring to Czech repertoire. The pace is quick, the fortes joyfully loud, and the ensemble is fully committed to bringing these works off — which they do.

Zdenek Fibich: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4
Overtures; Ballet Music from Hedy
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice; Marek Stilec, conductor

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