Jan Novák, žák Bohuslava Martinů
JAN NOVAK, A PUPIL OF BOHUSLAV MARTINU
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When comparing the fate of Bohuslav Martinů to that of his pupil Jan Novák, interesting parallels can be found, not only in their work (with which this article does not deal), but also in their lives. Both composers met in 1947 in the U.S.A., and, for half a year, they worked together in New York. Novák’s 1950s compositions were strongly influenced by Martinů’s style. At the same time, both of them suffered the disgrace of the Czechoslovak cultural politics and its executors. Novák venerated Martinů as his model up to the end of his life, even if during the 1960s he reverted from the neo-classical style to the principles of New music, dodecaphony and serialism. As performers, Jan Novák and his wife Eliška played an important role in creating a positive picture of Martinů, and promoting his works in Czechoslovakia during the difficult time of the early 1950s. An outcome of his free attitudes, which put Novák in permanent opposition with the ruling regime, was, in the same way as with Martinů, a life-long emigration in free Western Europe. Today, we have to secure for his music a dignified position in our violated music history as well as on our concert stages.
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