"I have no doubt that these 24 Preludes and Fugues are one of the finest piano works of our time..." David Matthews
Novákʼs music is intensely spiritual, and is truly modern in that it adds something completely new to what has existed before. At the same time it is not overtly radical; it does not seek to destroy the existing order and replace it with something new. Novák retains strong links with tonality, but his tonality, with its frequent use of triads, sounds uniquely his.
The 24 Preludes and Fugues were written for the pianist William Howard over a 17-year period, and consequently reflect the evolution of Novákʼs musical language during this time. Many of them were premiered at the Dartington International Summer School.
This 75-minute work is divided into four ʻbooksʼ, the first two based on the Old Testament and the second two on the New Testament. Whereas the pieces in the first two books are distinct and individual, the cycle strives increasingly towards a unity of form as it develops, while at the same time revealing Novákʼs growing interest in unison and a consonance in his compositional language.