- Zaboj, Slavoj and Ludek, symphonic poem, Op 37
- Othello, symphonic poem, Op. 6
Composer Zdenek Fibich, Dvorák's near contemporary, has until the last few years been known mostly for a large set of piano pieces he wrote toward the end of his life, programmatically depicting in sometimes explicit detail his relationship with a young piano student. Fibich also wrote a good deal of orchestral music, however; Neeme Järvi recorded one of his symphonies with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and now Naxos has embarked on a complete cycle of the orchestral pieces with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under a genuine Fibich specialist, Marek Stilec. The five tone poems included here are a mixed bag. "Othello, Op. 6," and "Boure (The Tempest), Op. 46," might be of interest to those occupied with the reception of Shakespeare in eastern Europe if they weren't for the most part rather pedestrian. It would take a keen ear to guess the subject matter of the former work from the music alone, and the titular storm of the latter lacks inspiration. Fibich was more oriented toward Germany than was Dvorák, but he seems on surer ground with more nationalistic themes: "Toman a lesní panna (Tomas and the Wood Nymph), Op. 49," adumbrates the magical realism of Dvorák's later works, and "Záboj, Slavoj, and Ludek, Op. 37," based on a story in an old Czech manuscript, is said to have influenced Smetana's "Má vlast." "Vesna (Spring), Op. 13," is a short, luminous interlude that could open any symphony concert profitably. The music is uneven, but in truth so is much of Dvorák's output, and these strong performances might cause more listeners to give Fibich's music a second look.