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Martinu: Juliette (3 Fragments) / Kozena, Davislim, Mackerras, Czech PO


Release Date: 06/30/2009 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 3994   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Daniela DemuthováStepánka PychováSteve DavislimMichele Lagrange,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gramophone Award Winner 2009 - Best Recital

Juliette is Martinu's operatic masterpiece and one of the most distinctive of all 20th-century operatic works. The plot is hallucinatory and wonderfully weird. Michel, a traveling salesman, arrives in a town where people have no memories. He encounters Juliette, whom he may have met before, or she may already know him, and in a series of stream-of-consciousness encounters they meet in a forest, where Michel shoots her, sort of, only she may not be dead, or even shot. In the third act, which takes place in the Bureau of Dreams, Michel arrives looking for Juliette, and the office clerk tells him that he has been dreaming, and if he does not give up his search he will never wake
Read more up, forever trapped in his dream. He refuses to relinquish Juliette, and the opera returns to the exact scene with which it opened.

I know it sounds strange, but what makes it work is Martinu's music, which matches the story moment for hallucinatory moment. He knew how important the opera was for his artistic development, and he tried desperately to get it performed as often as possible. The orchestral suite was arranged in 1969, after Martinu's death, but he assembled three fragments for concert performance that give an excellent idea of the complete work. These include, crucially, the entire forest scene in Act 2 and the Act 3 finale in the Bureau of Dreams. There's an old recording of the complete opera on Supraphon (in Czech), which is splendidly performed but dimly engineered.

This production more than makes up for that deficit, even though there's some audible variation between the Three Fragments (recorded live) and the Suite. Martinu's scoring is particularly luminous and really needs modern sound to make the necessary impact. Charles Mackerras delivers his usual outstanding results, the Czech Philharmonic plays amazingly, and the principal singers, especially Kozená and Davislim, sing beautifully. We still need a new recording of the complete opera, but until then this will do nicely. Essential for anyone who cares about 20th-century opera, or Martinu generally.

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

1. Julietta: Suite - Poco andante by Bohuslav Martinu
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; Paris, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 53 Secs. 
2. Julietta: Suite - Vivo by Bohuslav Martinu
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; Paris, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3. Julietta: Suite - Lento by Bohuslav Martinu
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; Paris, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4. Julietta: Scene in the Forest by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Daniela Demuthová (Voice), Stepánka Pychová (Voice), Steve Davislim (Voice),
Michele Lagrange (Voice), Karel Kosarek (Piano), Frederic Goncalves (Voice),
Veronika Mrackova-Fucikova (Voice), Milada Kosinova (Voice), Magdalena Kozená (Voice),
Nicolas Testé (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; Paris, France 
Length: 20 Minutes 49 Secs. 
5. Julietta: Scene of Memories by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Voice), Michele Lagrange (Voice), Nicolas Testé (Voice),
Karel Kosarek (Piano), Stepánka Pychová (Voice), Veronika Mrackova-Fucikova (Voice),
Milada Kosinova (Voice), Daniela Demuthová (Voice), Frederic Goncalves (Voice),
Steve Davislim (Voice)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; Paris, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 46 Secs. 
6. Julietta: Act 3, Finale by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Daniela Demuthová (Voice), Stepánka Pychová (Voice), Frederic Goncalves (Voice),
Veronika Mrackova-Fucikova (Voice), Milada Kosinova (Voice), Steve Davislim (Voice),
Magdalena Kozená (Voice), Michele Lagrange (Voice), Nicolas Testé (Voice),
Karel Kosarek (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; Paris, France 
Length: 12 Minutes 39 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Julietta: Suite: I. Poco andante
Three Fragments from Julietta (The Key to Dreams): No 1: Scene in the Forest

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