The great Czech conductor Václav Talich (1883-1961) praised Vítězslav Novák as the “greatest landscape painter of Czech music.” Novák, who had a very ambitious beginning as a composer, studied with Antonín Dvorák and showed a master’s touch initially in a more moderate style characterized by a national tint and extremely skilled craftsmanship. His passion for the folk music of his country was ignited in 1896 during a stay in Valachia and found an outlet in many of his compositions. His fame spread after the turn of the century when his name became synonymous in Prague with progressive composition. His most successful symphonic poem, In the Tatras, op.26, originated in 1901, followed by Of Everlasting Longing, op.33 (1903-05), Toman and the Wood Nymph, op. 40 (1906-07), and the tragic overture Lady Godiva, op.41 (1907). The crowning conclusion of this most successful period of creativity, in which he contributed to the development of Czech music in a decisive way, were two large-scale compositions: The Tempest, op.42 and Pan, op. 43, a tone poem of five-movements for piano, composed in 1910 and orchestrated in 1912.
From the preface of the Repertoire Explorer Miniature Score.