Dvořák · Martinů / Isserlis · Gilbert
The Noon Witch (00:17:19)
Cello Concerto in B minor (00:43:07)
Steven Isserlis Cello
Symphony No. 4 (00:39:12)
Alan Gilbert in conversation with Emmanuel Pahud (00:11:11)
The stories are scary, sometimes even rather cruel, and not really ideal for children. Albeit Antonín Dvořáks tone poems are based on ballads from Karel Jaromír Erben’s folktales, a literary form which ought to be suitable for children. However, there is no cause for qualms or concerns: the music is just wonderful, despite its rather gruesome subject matter. The symphonic poem The Noon Witch, written in 1896, impressively describes a mother’s battle for her child against an old witch who is trying to take it away. Dvořák only turned more intensely towards the genre of programme music in the last years of his life. This was linked with a stronger poetic focus in his musical repertoire, which is already apparent in his highly romantic Cello Concerto from the year 1895. And while we are in Bohemia and Moravia, we shouldn’t miss another Czech composer, whose oeuvre is still unfortunately undervalued and therefore all too rarely performed in concert halls: Bohuslav Martinů. However, he didn’t write his Fourth Symphony in his native country, but in exile in America in 1945.