Zemek (Novák) Pavel



Pavel Zemek (by proper name Pavel Novak) studied the oboe and composition at the Brno Conservatory of Music (1971-77), then he continued his studies with Miloslav Istvan at the Janacek Academy of Music (JAMU, graduated in 1988), and later completed his education on a scholarship in London (1992-3, with G. Benjamin), and in Paris (1997-8, with G. Grisey). He was employed as a first oboist of the orchestra at Janacek's Theatre in Brno. Nowadays he is on the staff of the Brno Conservatory as well as the Janacek Academy of Music, where he teaches composition as a major subject.

He wrote a lot of chamber and orchestral instrumental works for various combination, but his most characteristic works are those exploring the monophonic method of composing. His new compositional method resulted in writing many remarkable soloistic compositions for various instruments ((to be played in unison). A touch of Christian spirituality remains one of most conspicuous characteristics of most of his works, although they are largely conceived as standard concert pieces. Nevertheles, some of his works were composed since the very beginning with the medieval cathedral acoustics in mind. He received for one of his most contemplative and spiritual work the L. Janacek Prize (Passion after St. John, 1990-1997). On the occasion of Pavel Zemek's 50th birthday there had been performed his compositions Marian Variations and 24 Preludes and Fugues by The Schubert Ensemble and William Howard /piano/ (at the concerts on November 15, and on December 5th, 2007 in London). In August 2009 William Howard made the complete recording of his 24 Preludes and Fugues for piano (at the Champs Hill Studio, Sussex, U.K.). The first perfomance of his composition Trio No 2 - Unison I - XXI 'Seven Christ's Words on the Cross' took place at the Prague Festival of Contemporary Music Contempuls 2011.


In the international composition competition organized by the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation he was awarded a prize including the scholarship to compose a string quartet for the Hawthorne Quartet (its premiere took place on 2nd June at the Prague Spring Music Festival 2009).








A/ Solo Pieces


Sonata for oboe solo (1997) 6‘
Cairos and Cronos for oboe solo (2001) 2‘

Cor anglais

Second Threnody for cor anglais solo (2001) 3‘


Church solo for clarinet solo (1993) 3‘
Seven Last Words of Christ for clarinet solo (2002) 7‘


Hourglass for solo bassoon (in one movement) (2011) 4'

French horn

Snow for French horn solo (2001) 2‘

Percussion instruments

L'Adoration du Sacré-Coeur (Litanies) for 1 percussionist (2000 - still at work) cca 60‘


Stabat Mater for harp solo (1987-8)  8'   Prem.: 19. 1. 2009, Ensemble Prague Modern 


Sonata for cembalo (1989) (in two movements) 4‘


1st Sonata for piano (after C.Ph.E.Bach) (2003) 3‘
Marian Flowers - Consonances for piano (2003) CD Collegium ppp (Archive HIS) 3‘
Sixty Steps (to R. Scruton's birthday) (2004) 5'
24 Preludes and Fugues for piano (1990 - 2008), 1st & 2nd Part (after Old Testament) 3rd & 4th Part (after New Testament), Complete performance of 24 compositions: W. Howard - piano, Dartington Festival, UK, 16. 8. 2009; Prelude and Fugue No. 13 perf. by Daan Vandewalle at: CONTEMPULS 2009, Prague, CD publ. by Champs Hill Records 2011, William Howard - piano
5th Sonata for piano left hand (after a fragment of W.A.Mozart) /in one movement/ (2012) 11'
6th Sonata for piano "Ten Bronze Fragments" for right and left hand played separately (2013) 10'


From the Kingdom of Fish („O Christ.....") - parable for organ (1993) 6‘
Unison with Fourths (Homage to Bach's Family) for solo organ (in one movement) (2012) 4'


25 capriccios on a theme of L. Janacek for solo violin (1995) 15‘
Gold Thread for solo violin (in one movement) (2012) 6'

Viola d'amore

Canto semplice for viola d'amore solo (1997) 7'


1st Sonata solo (To the Memory of P. Metoděj Habán) (1987) 12'
2nd Sonata solo (To the Memory of P. Jakub Zemek) (1992-5) CD Supraphon, a.s. 1999 10'
3rd Sonata solo (Pizzicato Sonata "In Memoriam") (1998) 6'
The River - 4th Sonata for cello solo ("Paraphrase on the opera Curlew River by B. Britten") (2000) 5'  FP: Festival Contempuls Prague, R. de Saram, 22. 11. 2008

B/ Duos

The Hay Carriage [Hommage à H. v. Bosch II] for two percussionists (1984) 8'
Sonata - Fantasy for cello and piano (1984-5) 9'
A Day with Little Lenka - Duo for cello and cb (1985) 5'
Mr Doctor Julínek's Christmas Intrade for trumpet and organ (1988) 4'
The Praise of Marriage (Variations on the theme of D. Matthews) for bass clarinet and one percussionist (1988-9) 12‘
Decameron from Moravia, ten pieces for oboe and piano (1988-9) 12'
The View of the Other World [Hommage à H. v. Bosch III] (1988-90) 9'
Five Seasons for bassoon, piano and recitator [Five movements, texts from Old & New Testament] (1989-90) 12'
Memories for bass clarinet and piano (1992) 11'
Three Demonstrations of Esteem in the Talk of St Paul the Eremit in the year 342 for flute and marimba (1995) 5'
Paul Klee. Seven movements for bass clarinet and harp (1996-7) 8'
Bells. Sonata ("Pizzicato") for contrabass (1998) 8'
Good Mrs Nešpůrek's Easter Variations for trumpet and organ (2000) 5'
Fantasy - Unisono for violin and piano (2000) 7'
To Bohuslav Reynek. Sonata for viola and piano (2003) 12'
Feerie for tube and piano (2004) [Four miniatures - still at work]
Unisoni Sacri II for double bass and bells (Four movements) (2011) 6'

C/ Trios

The Garden of Delights [Hommage à H. v. Bosch] for oboe, vcl & piano (1984) 8'
Lord, We Seek the Song of Chosen for violin, cello and piano (1989-90) 9'
String Trio with Mass Bells for violin, viola, cello & mass bells (1997) CD Gnosis Brno 1998 11'
Paraphrase on the 4th Piano Concerto {Incantation} by B. Martinů [two parts] (2004] 10‘
To the Memory of Pavel Snížek. Trio for trombone, zymbalon and timpani [2 movements] (2000-1) 9'
Trio No. 2 - Unison I-XXI "Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross" (2011)
On Earthly Beauty and the Beauty of Paradise. Trio for flute, viola and harp (six movements attacca) (2010)

D/ Quartets

Pianissimo jazz for two violins, viola & cello [in one movement] (1989) 3´30''
String Quartet No. 1 ‘The Garden of Silence' for two violins, viola & cello (1993) 10'
String Quartet No. 2 ‘Pizziccato' for two violins, viola & cello (1995) 9'
Les Sept Paroles du Christ - String Quartet No. 3 for two violas, cello & contrabass (1998) 7'
First Quartet - Unison (to the Memory of J. Palach) for clarinet, violin, viola and cello (2000-1) 7'30''
String Quartet No. 4 ‘Unison' for two violins, viola & cello (1997-8) 4'
A Year of a Bird for two violins, cello & piano (1998) 10'
Marian Variations [Painswick Cathedral] for violin, viola, cello & piano (1999-2000) 12'
String Quartet No. 9 for four contrabasses (2000-1) 9'
Second Quartet - Unison (to the Memory of J. Zajíc) for clarinet, violin, viola and cello (2004) FP: 13. 11. 2008, Ensemble Konvergence, Prague
String Quartet No. 6 - Unison "The Bells of Light", To the memory of Pavel Haas (2008-2009) /in one movement/ 13'
Quartet - Unison No 3 (to the Memory of Edvard Plocek) /in one movement/ (2013) 10'

E/ Quintets

Piano Quintet

"Royal Funeral Procession to Iona" for violin, viola, cello, db. and piano (1994) [3 movements] 9'
Nuages blanks / Nuages moutonnés. In memoriam Gérard Grisey (1999) for bass clarinet, viola, double bass, harp and piano (1999) 3‘
Waltzes - Hommage to St Francesco d'Assisi for zymbalon, harp, harpsichord, percussion & cello [5 movements] (1991-2) 10'30''
Homage to Bach's Family for Piano Quintet /5 movements/ (2007-2010)

F/ Chamber ensembles of 6 and more performers

Concerto for oboe and 8 instruments /flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, cb, piano + harpsichord/ (1981) 11'
Seven Last Words of Christ - Chamber Symphony No 1 for 10 string instruments (1985-6) 10'30''
Hommage to St Francesco d'Assisi - Chamber Symphony No. 2 for clarinet and 10 string instruments [5 movement] (1988)12'
I Am Afraid of Your Judgment. Variations on a Moravian Folk Song for oboe and strings [2 movements] (1991) 9 min.
Hommage to Lord Jesus I. Concerto for cor anglais and chamber ensemble [5 movements] (1995) 20'
Blue Music for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, contrabass, piano + harpsichord [4 movements] (1998] 5'
Prophesy of Isaiah, a composition for seven instruments (fl, arp, vn, cl, pi, vcl, vla) (2005) ca 50´

G/ Orchestral Compositions

Symphony No 1 for large orchestra [7 movements] (1987] 20'
Symphony No 2 {Passion After St John} for 9 soloists, mixed choir and large orchestra (1990-7) 80'
Symphony No 3 {Medjugorie} for piano and 10 string instruments [33 movements att.] (1995-2002] 21'
Symphony No 4 {"Unisono for Orchestra"} [5 movements] (2002) 13'.
Symphony No 5 {"Streams of the Miséricorde and Light in the St James Church in Brno"} (2004) 15'
Serenade for cor anglais and orchestra [6 movements] (2003-4]
Unisono in C Major for orchestra [in one movement] (1998) ca 5'
Concerto (Consonance) for cello and chamber orchestra (2006-08) /fl/ob/cl/bcl - /hn/tr/tb/ - hp - strings (3/2/2/2/1), (7 movements - attacca) ca 12' (FP: 14. 10.2010, Festival Radio Autumn - Prague Premieres)

H/ Vocal Compositions

a) Solo Voice

Je t'aime (after the words by St Bernadette Soubirouse) for solo baritone (1997) 3'
Ave Maria for baritone solo (1998) 1'
Stabat Mater for baritone solo (1999)

b) Duets

.....You Don't Run Away. Divertimento (In Search of Seventh] for two sopranos (in two movements) (2011) 3'
Divertimento No 2 (In Praise of Third) for two sopranos (in one movement) (2013) 3'

c)Vocal Quintet

O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (after the words of chorale from the Passion by J.S.Bach) (1996) 4'
Requiem [7 movements] (1997) 8'


Requiem /version for mixed choir /
O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden /version for mixed choir/
Suspended Over the Clouds Over the Night (Homage to the Virgin Mary) after Marian Moravian folksongs for children choir (5 parts) (2013) 11'
Polychoral Mass in Honour of St. Joseph - high version S/A/T/B - S/A/T/B; - version with usual voice compass
+ two small trumpets (2012) 15'

I/ Vocal Music with Accompaniment

a)Solo Voice with 1 - 3 instruments

The Loneliness for mezzosoprano, piano and harpsichord [3 movements] (1984-5) 12'
The Wine. Songs for bass and bass clarinet (1986) 7'
The Garden of Love for soprano and 2 percussionists [6 movements] (1987-8) 9'
De triste cuer (Hommage à G. Machaut) for soprano, clarinet, viola and piano (2002) 3'
The Love. Unisono for tenor, clarinet, cello and piano [7 movements] (2004) 8'

b)Solo Voice with 5 instruments and more

I Am Afraid of Your Judgement. Transcription of a Moravian Folk Song for S, 2 cl., vla., db. and zymbalon [one movement piece] (1991) 5'
Three Marian Prayers for soprano, two clarinets, viola, cello and contrabass (1993-4) 7'30''
Silent Hymn for soprano and chamber orchestra [7 movements] (1997) 11'

c) Choir(s) with instrumental accompaniment

The Southerner's Rabbit - gastronomic operetta after a cooking recipe [18 parts] on text by author and J. Löw for women's choir of Husovice, trumpet, two tubes and percussion (2012) 20'