Martinu: La Jolla, Toccata, Concerto Grosso / Josef Hála, Petr Jiríkovsky, Ondrej Kukal, Et Al

Release Date: 11/25/2008
Label: Supraphon
Catalog Number: SU3958-2
Conductor: Ondrej Kukal
Orchestra/Ensemble: Prague Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This splendid disc was originally released on the Panton label, but happily reappears here on Supraphon. The fact that the conductorless Prague Chamber Orchestra can play this rhythmically tricky music with such confidence bespeaks long familiarity with Martinu's personal idiom. These are, one and all, fabulous pieces, particularly the Toccata e due canzone, a masterwork if ever there was one, and a much darker and more emotionally draining essay than the neo-baroque title might suggest.

Here's the bottom line: these are simply the finest versions of all three works. Tempos are lively, balances true, those long, syncopated, lyrical cantilenas in the first movements of the Tocatta and Sinfonietta soar as if self-propelled. No detail of Martinu's ceaselessly inventive orchestration passes unobserved, and his busy rhythms and obsessive ostinatos never turn mechanical (a potential issue in the Concerto Grosso especially). As usual, the Czech woodwinds (oboes especially) are a joy, and pianist Josef Hála plays delightfully in all three pieces. Excellent sonics offer an ideal combination of warmth and clarity. It doesn't get any better than this.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
1. Sinfonietta for Piano and Orchestra "La Jolla" by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer: Josef Hála (Piano), Petr Jiríkovsky (Piano)
Conductor: Ondrej Kukal
Orchestra/Ensemble: Prague Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950 ; USA
2. Toccata e due canzoni, H 311 by Bohuslav Martinu
Conductor: Ondrej Kukal
Orchestra/Ensemble: Prague Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1946 ; USA
3. Concerto Grosso for Chamber Orchestra, H 263 by Bohuslav Martinu
Conductor: Ondrej Kukal
Orchestra/Ensemble: Prague Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1937 ; Czech Republic
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