Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Hogwood; Matousek; Pasquier; Koh; Thomsen|
Martinu: Music for Violin & Orchestra Vol.1
Solanales | Saint Paul, Minnesota United States | 10/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether you are already committed or are new to the powerful works of Bohuslav Martinu, this CD will provide thrilling insights into this marvelous composer of the twentieth century. His compositions, at least in U.S. concert halls, are regrettably under-represented.
I recommend that you listen first to the rarely-performed Concerto for Two Violins in D major (H329), a work inspired by Bach's great masterwork of the same name, in D minor (BWV 1043). From the first orchestral chords of the Poco Allegro movement, you will be captured by a work of strength and vitality. By the last of the three movements, I think that you will be fully drawn into Martinu's musical world.
Next, explore the Concerto for flute and violin (H252). This is an uncommon instrumental pairing in the concerto form, but it works well under Martinu's pen. The hymn-like theme introduced a minute and a half into the first (Allegro moderato) movement emerges sweetly and without pretension, and is evocative of Ravel. It becomes the subject of variation between flute and violin through the work. A beacon of hope in a troubled world.
Finally, lend your ear to the Duo Concertante for two violins (H264). This is a spiky, neoclassical work in a Stravinskian vein. Unlike related works for violin by Stravinsky which strike me as rather sterile or cold, this remains good-natured and has joy and warmth characteristic of Martinu.
The performances rendered by the soloists under the baton of Christopher Hogwood, are excellent. A special kudo goes to the lead violinist, Bohuslav Matousek, whose playing is incandescent at times.
Overall, an outstanding disc. There is a cheaper alternative for H329 and H264 on Arte Nova by the Vienna Symphony under Marcello Viotti. The former work is also included with Szymanowski's Second Violin Concerto on a Koch Discover CD with Rudolf Barshai conducting the Brussels RTBF Orchestra. I have not listened to these alternative CDs however, and can't comment on the performances. If you want to explore Martinu further, check out the incredible Chandos CD containing the Sinfonietta La Jolla and the Toccata and Two Canzoni by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta under Tamas Vasary.