Author Topic: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)  (Read 84794 times)

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Offline kyjo

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1020 on: January 10, 2018, 09:50:43 AM »
Yes, that repeated motif in Martinu’s music is a signature and you’re not going crazy Kyle! Oh wait....never mind about the going crazy part, you’re already crazy as is everyone that frequents GMG. :D

You got me there! :laugh:
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Brian

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1021 on: January 18, 2018, 12:30:36 PM »
Many thanks for the welcome.  I've posted here before, though not often, and was very happy to see the Martinů thread so active upon my return.  I will update everyone here by letting you know that score and parts for a projected Volume 4 are in the final stages of preparation.  They are for the astonishing early ballet Noc ('Night').  Although a one-acter, the score is extremely demanding of resources - it calls for three harps, keyed glockenspiel, celesta, xylophone, piano, and a female choir behind the scenes (in addition to all the instruments you would expect).  Metrically, it is extraordinarily complex.  A fascinating piece with some exceptionally bold effects!

Since January 2017, I have been the chairman of the International Martinů Circle.  If anyone here is interested in joining, feel free to email me at michael.crump@sky.com.

Meanwhile, after midnight vanishes tonight, it will be a New Year - a happy one for all, I hope!
Michael,

I never responded to your posts before but I'm so very happy to see you on here and hope you stick around to talk Martinů with us. I just (2:45 ago) put the new disc on streaming and am very excited by the hour ahead!

Offline relm1

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1022 on: January 19, 2018, 04:53:12 PM »
I was pleased to see this recording getting some pre-release attention on this forum, having been responsible for producing the score and orchestral parts for the main work Vanishing Midnight.  I was also present at the recording sessions in January and can promise you an enthralling addition to the CD series of early orchestral works.  Vanishing midnight has never been recorded - indeed, only the central movement has ever been performed, and that just twice in the 1920s.  In this work Martinů seems to be summing up his achievements to date, before moving on to new territory in his next ballet Who is the Most Powerful in the World?.  The first movement begins with suggestions of his recent ballet Istar, but for the most part is an elaborate symphonic waltz gaining steadily in speed, rhythmic vitality until a dramatic collapse brings back the sounds of the opening.

The central movement has two distinct sections - the first is slow, unveiling an innocuous theme which will inflate to terrifying proportions when it reappears in the finale.  The textures are very complex, with the strings often divided into nine parts - but Martinů's characteristic luminosity of sound is present throughout.  The faster section brings rhythms reminiscent of Debussy - e.g. Fetes from his Nocturnes - stirring brass fanfares and dazzlingly bright orchestration.  Once more the music seems to collapse under its own momentum - the movement ends on a chilling note as two solo violins spiral upwards over eerie bitonal harmonies.

Despite the riches of the first two movements, I feel it is the finale ('Shadows') which will be the main talking point of this CD.  It depicts the disquiet that can arise in the human soul in the hours after midnight and sounds like nothing else Martinů ever wrote (with the possible exception of The Angel of Death, but we are a long way from being able to hear that  early symphonic poem).   Frantically billowing strings, sinister chromatic motives and tangled contrapuntal lines jostle for attention - like the soundtracks of horror films yet to be produced.  At the centre of the movement, harp and pizzicato violins suggest the ticking of a clock counting down to some unspecified disaster - and for me, one of the most impressive sections follows, as this material is developed and accelerated at length, opening out into a restatement of earlier material.  The conclusion is, unusually for Martinů, brutally pessimistic.

The release date is now January 5th 2018.  Having found this thread and started my post after 1am, I'm writing while too tired to describe Vanishing Midnight with the eloquence it deserves.  But I hope I've done enough to intrigue some of you to investigate it!

Michael Crump

I really enjoyed this release and found "Vanishing Midnight" to feel far shorter than its duration.  Is it possible to get the full score for study purposes?

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1023 on: January 19, 2018, 05:02:15 PM »
This upcoming release from Toccata Classics (Vol. 3 in their series of his early orchestral works) sounds very intriguing, to say the least:


Seems like this disc is not distributed in the U.S., and must be purchased from overseas. Am I mistaken? Or is it just not out yet?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 05:05:05 PM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline relm1

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1024 on: January 19, 2018, 05:15:52 PM »
Seems like this disc is not distributed in the U.S., and must be purchased from overseas. Am I mistaken? Or is it just not out yet?

You are mistaken.  I am in the US and heard it today on Spotify.  It was just released today here.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1025 on: January 19, 2018, 05:23:35 PM »
You are mistaken.  I am in the US and heard it today on Spotify.  It was just released today here.

I'm referring to the CD. The link supplied above only shows it shipped from locations in the U.K.

kishnevi

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1026 on: January 19, 2018, 06:51:01 PM »
Arkiv music shows it in their New Releaes thread as of today.

Offline jidlomonster

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1027 on: January 20, 2018, 01:51:46 AM »
I really enjoyed this release and found "Vanishing Midnight" to feel far shorter than its duration.  Is it possible to get the full score for study purposes?

I'm very pleased at the response to Vanishing Midnight on this forum.  Sorry to say, though, that the score and parts are only available through the Scott Hire Library (this is the case also with the ballets Stín, which we did on Volume Two, and Noc, which we hope will be the main work on Volume 4.

Offline jidlomonster

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1028 on: January 20, 2018, 01:54:43 AM »
Michael,

I never responded to your posts before but I'm so very happy to see you on here and hope you stick around to talk Martinů with us. I just (2:45 ago) put the new disc on streaming and am very excited by the hour ahead!
Thank you for the welcome Brian.  I hope the remainder of that hour fulfilled your expectations.  It has been gratifying for me to see not only a warm welcome to our new CD, but that the Martinů thread seems to be one of the longest composer threads on this forum.  That's just how it should be, of course!

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1029 on: March 25, 2018, 01:36:38 PM »
Well, the recent Supraphon CD of 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' was sensational so I will definitely get The Greek Passion. Yes, back to Szymanowski
vandermolen: I have put my 30 year old + Supraphon cassette box set of Martinu's The Greek Passion on now. It's nice how each of the four acts fits onto one side of a cassette  (two cassettes in all). I thought I would just give it a listen,with you in mind. The opera begins with the orchestra and choirs. No Prelude,or Overture,as such. Straight into the action. I think it sounds wonderful. The orchestration is redolent of some of those later symphonies. I think his use of choirs is thrilling. Some of them "offstage",as it were. The diction of the soloists is very clear. As I said,it's in English,so need to sit with a libretto (I never do,to be honest!). After twiddling my fingers through Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman (quite nice,but it does go on a bit! ::)) ) this comes as a blessed relief! I really do think this is an opera you might actually enjoy. Never mind the plot,just enjoy the thrilling orchestration and choirs (also thrilling). The singers are all superb,I might add! It's not one of those warble-y type operas. There is always something exciting to listen to. I find it quite spectacular.

Offline DaveF

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1030 on: March 25, 2018, 02:08:36 PM »
I really enjoyed this release and found "Vanishing Midnight" to feel far shorter than its duration.  Is it possible to get the full score for study purposes?

Most Schott scores, including this one: https://en.schott-music.com/shop/mijejici-pulnoc-no261385.html, are browsable online in their entirety.  You get "For Perusal Only" splashed across each page, but it doesn't stop you seeing the notes.
"Just because I like something, it doesn't mean it's any good."

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1031 on: March 25, 2018, 02:31:15 PM »
vandermolen: I have put my 30 year old + Supraphon cassette box set of Martinu's The Greek Passion on now. It's nice how each of the four acts fits onto one side of a cassette  (two cassettes in all). I thought I would just give it a listen,with you in mind. The opera begins with the orchestra and choirs. No Prelude,or Overture,as such. Straight into the action. I think it sounds wonderful. The orchestration is redolent of some of those later symphonies. I think his use of choirs is thrilling. Some of them "offstage",as it were. The diction of the soloists is very clear. As I said,it's in English,so need to sit with a libretto (I never do,to be honest!). After twiddling my fingers through Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman (quite nice,but it does go on a bit! ::)) ) this comes as a blessed relief! I really do think this is an opera you might actually enjoy. Never mind the plot,just enjoy the thrilling orchestration and choirs (also thrilling). The singers are all superb,I might add! It's not one of those warble-y type operas. There is always something exciting to listen to. I find it quite spectacular.
You've convinced me cilgwyn. I've ordered The Greek Passion (Mackerras). Thanks for the recommendation! 😀
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1032 on: March 26, 2018, 02:58:01 AM »
I was thinking. Listening to Act 2. There is some warbling;but it is opera,after all! ;D I think Act 2 has the most!! It did seem to zip along after Tales of Hoffman,though!! I found the music in Act's 1,3 & the final pages of Act 4,particularly arresting! There is some talking in one bit,for some reason. Without looking at the libretto,I don't know why? There are some interesting notes with the Supraphon set. Some of them by someone who knew him,when he was in Paris (I think? It was a late night!). How he got thrown out of his lodgings once,for driving all the neighbours mad with his piano playing! The tapes were not a joy to listen to. Not because of the music;but muffled,boomy sound. I also spent ages twiddling the settings on the mini hi-fi;only to discover that the batteries in my cordless headphones were running out of power!! ::)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1033 on: March 26, 2018, 03:47:55 AM »
I was thinking. Listening to Act 2. There is some warbling;but it is opera,after all! ;D I think Act 2 has the most!! It did seem to zip along after Tales of Hoffman,though!! I found the music in Act's 1,3 & the final pages of Act 4,particularly arresting! There is some talking in one bit,for some reason. Without looking at the libretto,I don't know why? There are some interesting notes with the Supraphon set. Some of them by someone who knew him,when he was in Paris (I think? It was a late night!). How he got thrown out of his lodgings once,for driving all the neighbours mad with his piano playing! The tapes were not a joy to listen to. Not because of the music;but muffled,boomy sound. I also spent ages twiddling the settings on the mini hi-fi;only to discover that the batteries in my cordless headphones were running out of power!! ::)
Well, the set has been despatched to me so we shall see soon.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1034 on: March 26, 2018, 07:08:37 AM »
Too late,now,then!! ::) ;D I think you'll enjoy,at least,some of it! I haven't listened to it for a while;but I've been listening through a big pile of operas,over the last week,or so;and The Greek Passion was one of the ones I enjoyed the most. Also,there weren't any of those moments when I started wondering if it was going on a bit!! I don't bother with librettos myself,being a bit thick! I have a look at the synopsis;and just sit back (or walk around?!!) and enjoy the music. I must get the cd set,when I can! Acts 1,3 & 4,were my favourite's though.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1035 on: March 26, 2018, 11:04:53 PM »
Too late,now,then!! ::) ;D I think you'll enjoy,at least,some of it! I haven't listened to it for a while;but I've been listening through a big pile of operas,over the last week,or so;and The Greek Passion was one of the ones I enjoyed the most. Also,there weren't any of those moments when I started wondering if it was going on a bit!! I don't bother with librettos myself,being a bit thick! I have a look at the synopsis;and just sit back (or walk around?!!) and enjoy the music. I must get the cd set,when I can! Acts 1,3 & 4,were my favourite's though.
Well, I'll be happy to report back. You are also responsible for me buying Fricker's 'Vision of Judgment' after hearing part of it on YouTube - I thought it sounded terrific and easily the best think I've heard by Fricker (although the end of Symphony 2 is terrific).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1036 on: March 27, 2018, 05:00:37 AM »
Yes,I was really surprised by what I heard! I actually,didn't buy the cd,when it came out,because I thought it would be like the symphonies!!! Not that I didn't like them! But the thought of a big,choral work in the same vein!! ??? ;D Dundonnell,at the Art Music Forum,in replying to my post  there (in the Re:Lyrita,thread) about the work,noted that,perhaps,ironically (or not?) the "public qualities" of the work led Hugh Wood to criticise the "consequential loss of individuality". And,I'm going to have to continue this in the Fricker thread,aren't I?!! ::) ;D

And I will! :)

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) MADRIGALS
« Reply #1037 on: March 27, 2018, 06:06:46 AM »
'Madrigals on Hyperion... niiice
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1038 on: March 28, 2018, 01:13:45 AM »
The Mackerras recording of 'The Greek Passion' arrived today so will have to give it a spin later despite by growing backlog of unheard CDs etc.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #1039 on: March 28, 2018, 03:14:33 AM »
The Mackerras recording of 'The Greek Passion' arrived today so will have to give it a spin later despite by growing backlog of unheard CDs etc.
Excellent! Let us know what you think. My copy did not come in the post today.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).