Universal Edition - Vítezslav Novák – Lady Godiva

Vítezslav Novák

Vítezslav Novák
Lady Godiva

Opus: op. 41
Year of composition: 1907
Subtitle: Ouverture
Scored for: for orchestra
Composer: Vítezslav Novák
Instrumentation details:
3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - perc - hp - str
Remarks: Study score available at Musikproduktion Höflich:
Duration: 15′
Please check your input!

  • Novák Vítezslav

  • Lady Godiva

  • (deliveryaddress if different)

  • What kind of material would you like to order?
    (Eg: piano reduction)
Request material on perusal Request performance material Licensing Request

Audio Excerpt

Lady Godiva, op. 41

World Première

Location: Tschechische Philharmonie Prag / Czech Republic
Date: 24.11.1907
Orchestra: Tschechische Philharmonie Prag
Remarks: conductor: Ladislav ?elanský

Work Introduction

The noble-hearted Lady Godiva in vain entreated her cruel husband to show more mercy to his suffering and oppressed people. In this she finally succeeded by complying with his condition, that she ride naked at noon through the streets of Coventry.

After completing the tone poem Toman und die Waldfee op. 40 which was soon to acquire a reputation as a sort of “Czech Salome” Vítězslav Novák was given a new and highly urgent commission. Jaroslav Vrchlický had written a play based on the story of Lady Godiva for the opening of the new Prague Municipal Theater, now the Vinohrady Theatre. The director of the new theatre, František Šubert, awarded two musical commissions for the opening occasion: Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859–1951) was engaged to write a Festive Ouverture – his Opus 70 – and Novák was to compose a Concert Overture to the play, in which Lady Godiva, during the 11th century, rode naked through the streets of Coventry at mid-day as a protest against a tax levied by her husband, Count Leofric of Coventry. The two protagonists are clearly contrasted in their music: Leofric makes his entry feroce in the key of C minor and Lady Godiva in E flat major, in a tender Andante. Lady Godiva´s womanly strength prevails over tyranny.

Novák wrote the overture Lady Godiva op. 41, one of his more powerful works, in the unbelievably short space of two days, on October 9 and 10, 1907. It was first performed on November 24, 1907, on the occasion of the opening of the new theatre by musicians from the Czech Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the National Theatre, conducted by Ladislav Čelanský. The score and a piano arrangement for four hands were published by Universal Edition in 1919.

English translation: Jonathan Price

score - Lady Godiva

Lady Godiva
  • for orchestra
  • Edition type: score

4 Ensembles that have played this work:

Shipping costs

We are happy to offer the following shipping methods for your order:

Standard Post 1–3 working days EUR 3.00
Economy Airmail 6–10 working days EUR 9.95
World (i.e. outside Europe)*   
Economy Airmail 10–15 working days EUR 14.95
Standard Airmail 5–10 working days EUR 19.95

* While we send your music as quickly as possible (usually by the next day), we unfortunately do not have any influence on the time it takes your music to reach you. The further you are away from our warehouse in Germany, the longer your music will take to reach you. From experience, that can take a couple of weeks to the USA and three or even four to Asia and South America.