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Martinu: Works For Violin And Orchestra / Viotti, Et Al

Release Date: 08/09/2005 
Label:  Arte Nova   Catalog #: 776350   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Jan PospichalFlorian Zwiauer
Conductor:  Marcello Viotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Simplicity without banality, wit that avoids parody, charm that doesn't cloy, and forms that offer clarity without stiffness: these are the hallmarks of the classical style. Composers either have it or they don't, and it doesn't matter one bit if we're talking about Mozart and Haydn, or as here, Martinu. He had it in spades! Take the marvelous Concerto for Two Violins of 1950: if the slow movement doesn't crystallize all that's most appealing in a "classical style"--the tunefulness, elegance, sweetness, and sophistication--then we must reconsider the meaning of the term. There's even a delicious formal surprise, when the same movement's principal theme, speeded up, does double-duty for the finale.

The Duo Concertante
Read more for two violins and orchestra dates back to Martinu's "Paris" period (the late 1920s and 1930s), and ranks with such masterpieces as the Concerto Grosso, Sinfonietta Giocosa, Concerto for String Quartet, and Sinfonia concertante. It has the same spiky harmonies and motor rhythms, and together with the Concerto for Two Violins constitutes the most important body of work for violin duo since the double concerto of Bach. These are marvelous works, in short, finely played by both soloists and particularly well conducted Marcello Viotti, who has Martinu's syncopated rhythmic style firmly in hand. Violinist Jan Pospichal also gets a chance to shine solo in the Violin Concerto No. 2 of 1943, a warmly Romantic piece immortalized by Joseph Suk on his Supraphon recording. I wouldn't say this version eclipses that effort, but it's certainly not second rate in any way. Pospichal's contribution has plenty of personality allied to a fresh, singing tone.

Sonically I would have preferred a bit more separation of the two soloists in the double concertos, as they both tend to hang out in the left channel, but the recording does reveal plenty of detail while preserving a natural sense of instrumental balance. The Duo Concertante is a CD recording premiere; the Concerto for Two Violins is almost one (there's an inferior, difficult-to-find performance led by Rozhdestvensky floating around somewhere). All in all, this disc must be counted one of the gems of the Arte Nova catalog.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Duo Concertante for 2 Violins and Orchestra by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Jan Pospichal (Violin), Florian Zwiauer (Violin)
Conductor:  Marcello Viotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; Czech Republic 
Concerto for 2 Violins by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Jan Pospichal (Violin), Florian Zwiauer (Violin)
Conductor:  Marcello Viotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; Czech Republic 
Concerto for Violin no 2, H 293 by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Jan Pospichal (Violin)
Conductor:  Marcello Viotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1945; Czech Republic 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Nice Program, Close to 5 Stars January 18, 2015 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The music of Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu has always fascinated me, perhaps due to the composer's ability to overlay pungent orchestral colors on conservative, traditional musical architectures. On this late 1990's Arte Nova recording, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra is in fine form, as are the two soloists from the orchestra's own string section. Marinu's Duo Concertante for 2 Violins, Concerto for 2 Violins, and Concerto for Violin comprise the program, which I found to be fresh and invigorating throughout. The sound quality is certainly adequate, although slightly lacking in spaciousness and depth. Overall, this recording has merit and should find favor with fans of Martinu's distinctive music." Report Abuse
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