Author Topic: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)  (Read 72759 times)

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karlhenning

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2007, 10:09:45 AM »
Karel Ancerl was a great Martinu conductor.  Look out for his Supraphon Gold Edition CD with the Frescoes and Parables (with Janacek's Sinfonietta): a great disc.

Truly a marvelous disc.

And only last night I was listening to the Fifth Symphony from the Ancerl Gold edition.  Beautiful!

Kullervo

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2007, 10:12:39 AM »
Few years ago I bought a Naxos CD of Martinu's works for cello and piano. I find the music unlistenable. Not my cup of tea.

Might I suggest one of the recordings mentioned above? Martinů is peculiar in that he was little interested in keeping a legacy, and cared little for what happened to his music after he was gone. As mentioned before, he can often be accused of note-spinning. I suppose I was fortunate enough to be introduced to him through one of his great works.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2007, 10:54:14 AM »
Might I suggest one of the recordings mentioned above? Martinů is peculiar in that he was little interested in keeping a legacy, and cared little for what happened to his music after he was gone. As mentioned before, he can often be accused of note-spinning. I suppose I was fortunate enough to be introduced to him through one of his great works.

Ditto.  Do give him a chance.  I haven't heard the cello and piano disc, which may not have some of his best work, but wow--when he's good, he's really good.

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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2007, 11:27:02 AM »
So, are you judging the composer entirely from one recording of the cello-&-piano works?

No, but I am not encouraged to explore further.
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Kullervo

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2007, 11:45:31 AM »
No, but I am not encouraged to explore further.

That's why I'm encouraging you.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2007, 11:53:57 AM »
Might I suggest one of the recordings mentioned above? Martinů is peculiar in that he was little interested in keeping a legacy, and cared little for what happened to his music after he was gone. As mentioned before, he can often be accused of note-spinning. I suppose I was fortunate enough to be introduced to him through one of his great works.
That's why I'm encouraging you.

Sorry, I didn't noticed first. I found Martinů's tonality ugly. Does he have anything where the tonality is "romantic" ?
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DavidW

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2007, 12:30:40 PM »
Sorry, I didn't noticed first. I found Martinů's tonality ugly. Does he have anything where the tonality is "romantic" ?

Well he also does drab, will that do? ;D  I kind of liked one or two of his string quartets, but meh I'm with you, I don't really enjoy his music that much.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2007, 12:37:00 PM »
...but meh I'm with you, I don't really enjoy his music that much.

Wow, somebody is with me.  :o
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Kullervo

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2007, 02:03:28 PM »
Sorry, I didn't noticed first. I found Martinů's tonality ugly. Does he have anything where the tonality is "romantic" ?

Try his symphonies, they are all from his most mature compositional period.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2007, 02:20:16 PM »
Or the Frescoes and Parables! They are certainly 'romantic' works!

pjme

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2007, 02:26:47 PM »
Hi 71, I will send you a copy of "Czech rhapsody" if you want  ( the CD is OOP) - I'm convinced that you will like it. A patriotic poem and Psalm 23 combined in a mighty cantata for baritone, chorus,organ and orch.( Elgar would have approved :)).
It is very early Martinu and totaly unlike the works he wrote later.

I agree that works from his neo-classical period have" too many notes" ( the 2- piano concerto...), but there is much else to discover. Start with some slow movements of the symphonies : nr 2 and 4 = just ravishing! The late chambermusic ( ca 1957-1959) can be warm, lush and almost romantic ( Nonetto , Chambermusic 1) - they speak of  great sadness ( cfr. Prokofiev in exile...), old age, nostalgia, love

Peter

karlhenning

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2007, 05:38:35 PM »
Or the Frescoes and Parables! They are certainly 'romantic' works!

In fact, I was just listening to these this evening.  Beautifully evocative works, exquisitely colored scores.

karlhenning

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2007, 05:47:56 PM »
I've also listened to three discs of piano solo music, and I've enjoyed every note of them, as well.  Hey! I just like it.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2007, 09:13:34 PM »
Hmm...never though of Martinů as needing a makeover - "romantic" or otherwise.

Seems to me he's just fine the way he is, just as X is fine the way X is.

I will say this, though: echt-Martinů is a difficult thing to pin down. He's all over the map style-wise. From his more ingratiatingly mainstream works like his opera Julietta, his fifth string quartet, and his third violin sonata; to his more quixotic/conceptual works like his minimalistic opera Comedy on the Bridge, his La Revue de Cuisine, and his Concert for Piano Trio and String Orchestra; to his flat-out "tuneful/heart on sleeve" works like his Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra and first cello sonata; and finally to his folk influenced works like his Five Madrigal Stanzas for violin and piano.

Which is not to imply he had no artistic voice - far from it. It's just that jumping from style to style - and doing it easily - seemed to come with his muse.

Anyway, it's all good listening, at the very least!


« Last Edit: October 02, 2008, 04:35:35 PM by donwyn »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2007, 11:45:05 PM »
Try his symphonies, they are all from his most mature compositional period.

okey, thanks! Symphonies then...

Or the Frescoes and Parables! They are certainly 'romantic' works!

okey, thanks!

Hi 71, I will send you a copy of "Czech rhapsody" if you want  ( the CD is OOP) - I'm convinced that you will like it. A patriotic poem and Psalm 23 combined in a mighty cantata for baritone, chorus,organ and orch.( Elgar would have approved :)).
It is very early Martinu and totaly unlike the works he wrote later.

I agree that works from his neo-classical period have" too many notes" ( the 2- piano concerto...), but there is much else to discover. Start with some slow movements of the symphonies : nr 2 and 4 = just ravishing! The late chambermusic ( ca 1957-1959) can be warm, lush and almost romantic ( Nonetto , Chambermusic 1) - they speak of  great sadness ( cfr. Prokofiev in exile...), old age, nostalgia, love

Peter

Very kind gesture Peter!
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Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #35 on: October 07, 2007, 01:05:51 AM »
Truly a marvelous disc.

And only last night I was listening to the Fifth Symphony from the Ancerl Gold edition.  Beautiful!

That is a terrific disc too. I have an older Supraphon Ancerl Czech PO Historical CD with Symphony 5, Parables, Lidice Memorial and Frescoes of Piero della Francesca. Perhaps the greatest collection of his music on a single CD.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

lukeottevanger

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2007, 01:26:21 AM »
Yes, that's the one I was talking about above - and I agree: the single finest Martinu disc, surely, though the original Turnovsky Symph 4/Tre Ricercare LP runs it very close

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2007, 08:40:52 AM »
Yes, that's the one I was talking about above - and I agree: the single finest Martinu disc, surely, though the original Turnovsky Symph 4/Tre Ricercare LP runs it very close

Have only grown to appreciate Tre Ricercare recently. Have to confess leaping up to the record player, after playing Turnovsky's epic Fourth Symphony performance, and turning it off after the first few bars of Tre Ricercare in the LP days! The Apex super cheap CD with the 4th symphony, Ricercare and "Incantations" Piano Concerto is, I agree, another front runner for best Martinu CD available.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2007, 09:47:46 AM »
Haven't heard that Turnovsky disc myself. Must investigate...

While we're on the subject, another contender for great Martinů discs:






Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

pjme

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Re: Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2007, 10:08:24 AM »


RCA - 74321886822

(CD - 2 discs)

Les Ritournelles
Fantasie and Toccata (1940)
Piano Sonata No. 1
Julietta
Études & Polkas
Piano Concerto No. 2, H237
Piano Concerto No. 3, H316
Piano Concerto No. 4, H358 'Incantation
Rudolf Firkusny , Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Libor Pesek

FRom the New York Times ( January 1987) :

Mr. Firkusny knew Martinu for many years, and in the last two decades of the composer's life they were very close (and near neighbors in New York City). ''I was familiar with his music before I met him, because in Brno, where I lived, it was played quite a bit,'' Mr. Firkusny recalled. ''Brno was ahead of Prague in this. In 1932 or '33 I met him in Paris, and we became friends. He told me that he was writing another piano concerto - his first was very influenced by jazz and by French 'isms' - and that he would like me to play it. As it turned out he did not dedicate it to me; a close friend of his married a pianist and he gave it to her as a wedding gift, but he reserved the premiere for me.''

Later, Martinu gave him the dedication of the Third Concerto, ''but that unfortunately is not one of his strongest works, and I have rarely played it,'' Mr. Firkusny said, adding that it had a troubled origin. Premonition in Minor Key

''It was just after the war, and he wanted to write something very joyful, to have it performed in Prague,'' Mr. Firkusny said. ''But he came to me and said he was worried, he could not find the right spirit; gloom kept creeping in. Even when he thought he had the right mood for the finale, there would suddenly come this minor key. On the day he brought me the final page, he asked, 'Have you seen The Times?' I hadn't. Masaryk had committed suicide, and it was the end of the government in Czechoslovakia. So his minor keys were a premonition.''

Later came a fourth concerto, called ''Incantations,'' again with a premiere by Mr. Firkusny, ''a very beautiful work, more of a fantasia than a concerto.''

The Second Concerto, Mr. Firkusny said, ''is very important in Martinu's output, because it was the first work in which he began to turn from his 'international' style toward a distinct Czech idiom. Martinu spent most of his life away from Prague, and his music became more and more Czech the longer he didn't live there. He had a great kind of homesickness, a melancholy streak.'' It is in traditional three-movement form, with themes that Mr. Firkusny associates with some of the tunes in Smetana's operas.

Martinu was the second great composer with whom Mr. Firkusny had a close association. The first came into his life when he was five years old and his mother took him to audition for Leos Janacek, who initiated the young prodigy into an intensive study of composition and ''became like a father'' to him.

Peter
 
 
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007, 10:11:53 AM by pjme »

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