This is a treasure-trove of songs in the tradition of Richard Strauss, melodically radiant and full of sensitivity to atmosphere. Immler is ideally suited to them; Helmut Deutsch sets his peerless pianism at the disposal of composer and singer.
Simonetto plays with strong rhythmic drive. In a few places he lets it get frantic, adding to the excitement in these zany pieces. He also brings out plenty of contrasts with his touch and the occasional changes of manuals.
What impresses most here is the clarity and naturalness of Zimmermann’s performances, remarkable in combining an intimate knowledge of the music with a freshness of approach. This is frankly, is how Martinů should always be played.
The wind players of the Concertgebouw combine refinement of blend and ensemble with a sense of spontaneous enjoyment. This superlatively played new recording immediately joins the shortlist for this most sumptuous of serenades.
Paul Wee’s evocative playing captures the spirit of each role. With a handful of Thalberg’s other arrangements as a welcome bonus and gorgeous recorded sound, this is one to cherish.
In sum these performances, engineered with warmth, clarity and impact, rank with best best; and having all three symphonies on a single disc makes this release something of a bargain as well–even at full price.