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Martinu: Complete music for violin & orchestra, Vol. 1 CD

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Product details

1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35
2. Adagio
3. Poco Allegretto
4. Poco Allegro
5. Adagio
6. Allegro
7. Poco Allegro
8. Moderato - Piu vivo - Tempo primo
9. Allegro con brio - Vivo (Presto)

Product Description

Concerto flûte, violon, orch. H252 - Duo concertant pour 2 violons & orch. H264 - Concerto 2 violons & orch. H329 / Bohuslav Matousek, Régis Pasquier, Jennifer Koh, violon - Janne Thomsen, flüte. - Orch. Philh. Tchèque - Christopher Hogwood, direction

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding 10 Oct. 2008
By Solanales - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Whether you are already committed or are new to the powerful works of Bohuslav Martinu, this CD will provide thrilling insights into this marvelous composer of the twentieth century. His compositions, at least in U.S. concert halls, are regrettably under-represented.

I recommend that you listen first to the rarely-performed Concerto for Two Violins in D major (H329), a work inspired by Bach's great masterwork of the same name, in D minor (BWV 1043). From the first orchestral chords of the Poco Allegro movement, you will be captured by a work of strength and vitality. By the last of the three movements, I think that you will be fully drawn into Martinu's musical world.

Next, explore the Concerto for flute and violin (H252). This is an uncommon instrumental pairing in the concerto form, but it works well under Martinu's pen. The hymn-like theme introduced a minute and a half into the first (Allegro moderato) movement emerges sweetly and without pretension, and is evocative of Ravel. It becomes the subject of variation between flute and violin through the work. A beacon of hope in a troubled world.

Finally, lend your ear to the Duo Concertante for two violins (H264). This is a spiky, neoclassical work in a Stravinskian vein. Unlike related works for violin by Stravinsky which strike me as rather sterile or cold, this remains good-natured and has joy and warmth characteristic of Martinu.

The performances rendered by the soloists under the baton of Christopher Hogwood, are excellent. A special kudo goes to the lead violinist, Bohuslav Matousek, whose playing is incandescent at times.

Overall, an outstanding disc. There is a cheaper alternative for H329 and H264 on Arte Nova by the Vienna Symphony under Marcello Viotti. The former work is also included with Szymanowski's Second Violin Concerto on a Koch Discover CD with Rudolf Barshai conducting the Brussels RTBF Orchestra. I have not listened to these alternative CDs however, and can't comment on the performances. If you want to explore Martinu further, check out the incredible Chandos CD containing the Sinfonietta La Jolla and the Toccata and Two Canzoni by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta under Tamas Vasary.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Martinu's elegant charm conveyed in fantastic performances 11 Jun. 2013
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Martinu: The Complete Music for Violin and Orchestra, Volume 1
Bohuslav Matousek, violin
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Christopher Hogwood, conductor

This is the first of four discs in Hyperion's excellent series, all featuring Bohuslav Matousek's superb violin with the Czech Philharmonic, led by Christopher Hogwood. Splendid compositions, performances, and recordings! Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) was a modernist, but always conveyed a lyrical charm and elegance in his music. Martinu's vision is sunny and optimistic, despite the dire events taking place in the world.

I find the first of the three works here, the "Concerto for flute, violin and orchestra" (1936 -- 18'41), to be the most impressive, featuring piano along with the two lead instruments. In a classical fast-slow-fast form across three movements, the contrast of the instruments and their lyricism is wonderful. It is truly amazing that Martinu's works are not better known.

The "Duo concertante for two violins and orchestra" (1937 -- 17'44) is clearly a neoclassical piece (or neobaroque to be more precise), with a baroque-sounding theme in the first and third movements reminiscent of Stravinsky's neoclassical works of the same period. The seven-minute central adagio is absolutely lovely and engaging, a highlight of this set.

Finally, the "Concerto in D major for two violins and orchestra" (1950 -- 18'37) is from Martinu's final American period. Like his Symphony No. 6 and Violin Concerto No. 2, it has a Coplandesque theme, a bit of Western Americana. I find this to be less impressive than the earlier works, with the theme bordering on kitsch, but Martinu's lyrical writing for the twin violins and orchestra is still winning.

This disc is recommended to anyone interested in Martinu's music or in music for violin. Volume Four is superb as well. Martinu deserves to be recognized along with Stravinsky and Bartok as one of the finest early 20th Century composers!
Lively performances of lively music 15 April 2015
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hyperion’s admirable series of Martinu’s works for violin and orchestra covers not only the works for solo violin and orchestra, but also works in which the violin is one of several soloists. Indeed, all of the works on the present disc are double concertos, and all three are written in Martinu’s typically chatty, engaging and garrulous style – all the works are all engaging and enjoyable, but there is little profundity and nothing here is close to rivaling Martinu’s greatest masterpieces, such as the cello concertos. If you know Martinu’s music you know what you’ll get, however – a cynic might even say that she’s pretty much heard all of these works before, but they’re nevertheless very well worth getting to know.

The earlier works, the concerto for flute, violin and orchestra from 1936 and the Duo Concertante for two violins and orchestra from 1937, are neo-baroque in character; the Concerto in D Major for two violins and orchestra from 1950 somewhat more neo-romantic. All of them, however, are characterized by vigorous forward momentum (and plenty of Martinu’s signature gestures). The flute-and-violin concerto is relatively sweet and brief with a flowing opening movement, a gentle adagio (with a prominent piano part) and an exciting poco allegretto. The Duo Concertante is even shorter, and sounds a bit like a baroque concerto grosso. The Poco Allegro is joyful and forceful; the adagio chattering though relaxed and the final allegro again rather vigorous – it is quite quickly paced in this performance, but doesn’t sound rushed.

The Concerto in D is a bit of a rarity, and published only decades after the composer’s death. As suggested above it is more neo-romantic in character, though the mood correspond to the earlier concerto, with a cheerful, virtuosic opening movement, a slow movement that shifts between the sweet and the lightly bouncing and a brisk, lively final Allegro con brio that brings the work to a close with a very appealing cadenza. The performances are very good – they strike me as being on the faster side, but that’s really not an objection in music like this. The sound is good as well, and although this is hardly an essential acquisition it is surely a worthwhile one.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
for love martinu music 17 Jan. 2011
By Cesar Lares - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
yes, the more i hear martinu music the more i love his music, in fact all the 4 cds of the serie are indispensable hearing if you fell any intrigue about this great composer, good violin player and also very good suport of orchestra and conductor, the sound is a bit resonance for my taste, not in the demostration class, but the music is.
if you like this music dont hesitate and go for the complete music for violin and piano on supraphone by the same violinist.
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