Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Bohuslav Martinu, Jiri Belohlavek, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra|
Martinu: Symphony No. 1; Double Concerto
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Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 02/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is mostly worth having for a superb version of a 20th-century masterpiece, the Concerto for Double String Orchestra, Piano and Timpani (1938). Written in response to the growing Nazi threat at the time, it bristles with nervous energy, horror and sorrow. The First Symphony is also very attractive, even if not as shattering as the Concerto. Both pieces are beautifully, powerfully played by the wonderful Czech Philharmonic, with Belohlavek an outstanding interpreter of this music."
A Fine Introduction to Orchestral Martinu
M. C. Passarella | Lawrenceville, GA | 08/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm hardly a Martinu expert and in fact am only recently a Martinu admirer. But by virtue of both the music and performances, I think this CD constitutes maybe the best introduction to the orchestral music of the 20th century master. While I first came to know the symphonies through performances by Neemi Jarvi and Claus Peter Flor, I can't say I really understood Martinu the symphonist until I heard the performance of the First Symphony by Belohlavek. He and his Czech forces certainly get to the heart of this music, creating a vibrant, highly seasoned sound picture that hints strongly at Martinu's musical roots. That Martinu was a student of Albert Roussel, one of my favorite 20th-century symphonists, wasn't clear to me until I heard this performance, especially the cut and thrust of the symphony's Scherzo second movement. Dashing music dashingly performed.
In a way, even more impressive is the Concerto, a premonition of the Second World War that is relentless, spiky, troubled and yet with a surface brilliance provided by the piano. It reminds one of Bartok's rightly more famous "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta"--a worthy model, if such is the case. It also seems to look ahead to Stravinsky's "Symphony in Three Movements," whose use of the piano as rhythm instrument is very similar. Did Stravinsky know this concerto by Martinu? Again, Belohlavek's performance is breathtakingly alive. And this is the best sounding recording I've heard of Martinu's orchestral music: excellent detail and presence along with a realistic hall perspective. Bravo, Chandos!