Jan Hanuš, The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra ‎– Jan Hanus, Vol. II., Symphony No.2

Serenus ‎– SRS 12047
Vinyl, LP


1 Symphony No. 2 In G (Op. 26)
A1 I. Allegro Moderato 10:15
A2 II. Andante 10:40
B1 III. Molto Vivace 5:55
B2 IV. Allegro Moderato E Calmo (Tema Con Variazioni) 10:10




JAN HANUS was born in Prague in 1915. A Descendant on his mother's side of the great Czech music publishing family, F.A.Urbanek and Sons. His early interests were scientific and s cholarly but at the age of seventeen he committed himself to the study of music, undertaking to study composition with the well-known Czech composer, Otakar Jeremias (1892-1962), and entering the Prague Conservatory from which he was subsequently graduated, paradoxically enough, in conducting, although his real metier was already that of composer.

Very soon he became one of the most fruitful of Czech composers, founding an extensive oeuvre in all forms. Also, because of his great abilitries as thinker and planner, he became a moving force in many of the public aspects of the creation of music, in the Czech Association for Musical Education, the Czech Composers' Union and the International Festival of Music, "Prague Spring." His musicological abilities were put to important use in masterful editions of the music of Dvorak and Fibich, two of what might be called the founders of modern Czech music, the third being Bedrich Smetana. Hanus identifies with the tradition of these three composers and his music reflects the same idyllic yet vigorous character found in their music. It is not that the music is international so much as t hat its very Czechish-ness makes it international.

Hanus has composed music for all media and for all categories of performing artist: musical study works for children (a function of composition he believes in deeply), works for chorus both children's and adult, numerous large-scale cantatas, several ballets, four important operas ("Flames," "The Servant of Two Masters," "Prometheus' Torch," "A Night's Fairy Tale"), five symphonies, five masses, numerous specialized works for soloists and orchestra, countless chamber works and even a Concertino for Percussion and Tape. Hanus is at home in all forms of musicl and though his music is rooted in his Czech background his idiom is both timeless and contemporary. While traditional in its sense of honesty, sincerity and desire to communicate, Hanus' music demands a certain amount of effort on the listener's part if he is to participate in the pleasures of the composer's invention. Of course, part of Hanus' heritage is, apart from the lyricism and seriousness, rhythmic and even humorous. But in this sense his humor and rhyhthm are no more than the ebullience of all great artistic spirits, in all media.


SYMPHONY NO.2 originated in the period of 1950-51. At that time Jan Hanus was deeply influenced by the character and career of St. Francis of Assisi, the Saint's philosophy of simplicity, and especially his famous song of "Brother Sun," becoming the aesthetic basis of this entire creative period for Hanus. During this period he brought forth "The Czech Year," for Children's Chorus and Small Orchestra (to be heard on another Serenus Recorded Edition), the present Symphony No.2 and the ballet, "Salt More Precious than Gold," op.28. Symphony No.2 represents an idealization of simplicity and celebrates musically the beauty of life in its completeness and richness. Although the period was a difficult and complicated one for the composer's creative life no sign of such disturbance is heard in the music. It is truly a symphony of joy, hope and love.

In its first performance of February 7, 1952, the work was warmly received by the audience and since that time it has become one of the staples of the Czech symphonic repertoir as well as one of the composer's most widely performed works both at home and abroad. The work is dedicated to the composer's wife.

The first movement begins with a free pastorale introduction from which springs the theme of a youthful, vivvacious march. The secondary theme appears rather inconspicuously but becomes more and more prominent ultimately as a basis for a series of variations leading to the gloruous thematic conclusion.

The second movement is a meditative nocturne in a threefold form.

A twittering Scherzo forms the third movement, rhythmically based on the folkdance, "Spindle," an inverted "furiant" (a Bohemian dance type with rapid yet often-changing rhythm).

The forth movement, as mentioned above, is built on a series of variations. After the final gradation of the last variation sonority keeps on dying away, and the symphony ends in a quiet mood, reminding us of the very beginning of the work: man stands, as it were, in humble admiration, facing the Nature he has sought to understand.


THE CZECH PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA was established in 1901 under the leadership of O. Nedbal and was originally dedicated to the development and performance of Czech music. After the first World War, under the direction of Vaclav Talich, the orchestra become one of the world's foremost symphonic bodies, a position it still holds today. Since World War II the leading conductors associated with the Czech Philharmonic have been Vaclav Talich, Rafael Kubelik, Karel Sejna, KArel Ancerl and Vaclav Neumann. Numerous concert tours have included serveral visits to the U.S.A., New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, India and the U.S.S.R., not to mention the regular concert tours of the capitals of Europe. The Orchestra is also a leading force in the famous International Musical Festival, "Prague Spring." Its recordings are issued internationally by Supraphon, Ariola, DGG, Teldec, and now - Serenus Recorded Editions !

KAREL ANCERL was born April 11, 1908, and studied composition with composers J.Kricka and Alois Haba, and conducting with Vaclav Talich. Prior to World War II he was conductor of the Czech Radio Orchestra. During the war he was arrested and imprisoned in the concentration camps of Terezine and Oswieczim. At the end of the war he returned to Prague to become conductor of the Grand Opera House; the in 1950 he became chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic ORchestra. As conductor he has toured over the entire world in a varied repertoire of classica, romantic and contemporary music. He has conducted first performances of a large number of contemporary works including the preparation of the first performance of Alis Haba's all-night quarter-tone operate, "The Mother." Recently he has been living in Toronto, Ontario, Canda, where he is conductor of the Toronto Symphony.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side A): SRS12047A-1
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B): SRS12047B-1-