Notes and Editorial Reviews
This first disc in a new series of Martinu's complete music for solo violin(s) and orchestra promises a splendid voyage of discovery for music lovers. Some of this music has been previously recorded: the Duo concertante and Concerto for Two Violins can be found on an Arte Nova release, but the playing here is so much better in all respects that we might as well consider these performances to be recording premieres. And if you don't know this music, you are in for a big treat.
The Concerto for Flute and Violin and the Duo concertante both date from the late 1930s, the height of Martinu's neo-Baroque period, and they are just delightful. Busy, toccata-like textures alternate with
moments of poignant lyricism, while the central slow movements always strike a deeper expressive note. It's very hard to believe that this music is hardly known. Martinu composed about 28 concertos of various kinds over the course of his career, any one of which would grace today's concert programs.
Of all modern composers, perhaps only Prokofiev matched Martinu in the ability to write melodies of great lyrical sweetness and simplicity without a trace of tackiness or affectation. The central movement of the Concerto for Two Violins (1950) is a case in point, possibly the most charming melody since Haydn's "Clock" Symphony. You'll be humming it for days, only I promise that the version you remember will never quite correspond to the original. The whole piece is brilliant, sunny, and unforgettable. You simply must hear it.
As already suggested, these performances offer the last word in brilliance and idiomatic style. This project has been close to violinist Bohuslav Matouek's heart for years, ever since he released Martinu's complete works for violin and piano on Supraphon. He's perfectly partnered by Régis Pasquier and Jennifer Koh (on violins), and flutist Janne Thomsen. Christopher Hogwood has become something of a Martinu specialist. The composer beyond doubt suits his baroque/classical pedigree, while the Czech Philharmonic is incomparable in this repertoire. Gorgeously engineered, this fabulous disc only whets the appetite for the remainder of the series.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Duo Concertante for 2 Violins and Orchestra by Bohuslav Martinu
Bohuslav Matousek (Violin),
Régis Pasquier (Violin),
Jennifer Koh (Violin)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1937; Czech Republic
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