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  • Martinu: The Six Symphonies [GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER 2012]
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Martinu: The Six Symphonies [GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER 2012] Box set

6 customer reviews

Price: £26.28 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek
  • Composer: Martinu
  • Audio CD (27 Jun. 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Onyx
  • ASIN: B004Y9DFN2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,245 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

ONYXC 4061; ONYX CLASSICS - Inghilterra; Classica contemporanea Orchestrale

Review

The piece won an ovation in this performance, which was marked by consistently virtuosic playing from the orchestra and a sense of easy command from Belohlávek that typifies his control over the music of his homeland. You would have to look long and hard to find this level of advocacy for any composer. --The Guardian on the 4th Symphony

Martinu's symphonies tend to divide opinion and have not enjoyed anything like the same exposure as those of his Czech predecessor, Dvorák. But if anyone can find the key to their language, it is Jirí Belohlávek. These fine-tuned, dynamic performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra stem from a 2009 10 series at the Barbican. Doubters about the music perhaps need not apply, but there is plenty of freshness, verve and expressive wisdom on this set.**** --Daily Telegraph,04/08/11

You won't find a more persuasive champion than Belohlavek,who has the music in his blood. His skill at unravelling Martinu's rhythmic and textual knots-evidenced tme and again in these live performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra-is such that you immediately sense the statue of the music.The best place to start is the Fourth Symphony:in Belohlavek's hand it sizzles-especially the Allegro vivo,a motorised march that generates fabulous momentum. **** --Financial Times,30/07/11

Anyone beguilled by the capabilities of the modern orchestra or who appreciates a good sense of musical fun should hear Martinu's Symphonies and this is now the recording to turn to. **** --Classic fm Magazine,Oct'11

You won't find a more persuasive champion than Belohlavek,who has the music in his blood. His skill at unravelling Martinu's rhythmic and textual knots-evidenced tme and again in these live performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra-is such that you immediately sense the statue of the music.The best place to start is the Fourth Symphony:in Belohlavek's hand it sizzles-especially the Allegro vivo,a motorised march that generates fabulous momentum. **** --Financial Times,30/07/11

In short ,Belohlavek and the BBC SO are now my top recommendation for the Martinu symphonies. RECORDING OF THE MONTH EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone,Oct'11



The finest now available. -- --IRR,Nov'11

Belohlavek captures Martinu s shimmering, luminous orchestral textures and invests the pervasive sprung rhythms of the faster movements with an infectious bounce. His emotional engagement is always complete. --BBC Music Magazine October 2012

You won't find a more persuasive champion than Belohlavek,who has the music in his blood. His skill at unravelling Martinu's rhythmic and textual knots-evidenced tme and again in these live performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra-is such that you immediately sense the statue of the music.The best place to start is the Fourth Symphony:in Belohlavek's hand it sizzles-especially the Allegro vivo,a motorised march that generates fabulous momentum. **** --Financial Times,30/07/11

Belohlavek captures Martinu s shimmering, luminous orchestral textures and invests the pervasive sprung rhythms of the faster movements with an infectious bounce. His emotional engagement is always complete. --BBC Music Magazine October 2012

You won't find a more persuasive champion than Belohlavek,who has the music in his blood. His skill at unravelling Martinu's rhythmic and textual knots-evidenced tme and again in these live performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra-is such that you immediately sense the statue of the music.The best place to start is the Fourth Symphony:in Belohlavek's hand it sizzles-especially the Allegro vivo,a motorised march that generates fabulous momentum. **** --Financial Times,30/07/11

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Precession on 1 July 2011
Format: Audio CD
The Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek first recorded a Martinu Symphony over thirty years ago, and has recorded all of them except the Second before these recordings made during the celebrations in 2009/10, in some cases several times. These performances show the results of a lifetime dedication to the composer, and also of his work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra over his years as chief conductor. The recorded sound is fine - these are live performances but there is no sign of audience noise. As a complete set of symphonies it easily takes first place. There are individual performances from earlier periods on CD by conductors such as Ancerl, Munch and Turnovsky which hold their place, and always will, but amongst more recent issues these performances are not only unbeatable as a set but also in the case of the individual symphonies. It is interesting to compare the performances with those by the Czech Philharmonic with the same conductor, and that set, from Supraphon, should soon be complete also. Martinu had himself been a member of the Czech orchestra, who sometimes show particular insight into a phrase or aspect of balance, but the BBC orchestra in these performance on Onyx seem to win on enthusiasm and, surprisingly, in some places also on virtuosity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By xxsfgsvs TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's no surprise to me that Belohlavek is pretty well peerless with Martinu's symphonies but the efforts of the BBC Symphony Orchestra are a real ear opener too: they sound world class here. Then there's the small matter of the sound engineering: astounding! The clarity, balance and warmth of this live recording must surely be the best to ever come out of the Barbican. What an achievement.

As for the performances and interpretation: Belohlavek has made recordings with the Czech Philharmonic and I loved his recording of the Fourth with them. The Onyx version is a match for that. It would be the highlight but for the new life Belohlavek and the BBC SO have breathed into the Second and Third. The Second often sounds like a lazy, clod hopping country cousin but here it's lighter, incisive and classically balanced. I hear new details in the Third that I'd not heard before with the finale far better balanced than is usually the case.

The rest are all excellent but those two were real highlights for me. the same incisive, precise playing is heard in all with a conductor who knows what he wants and an orchestra delivering 100%. Each of the symphonies is neatly proportioned the emphasis on clarity doesn't reduce tempos - quite the opposite in some places. The expressive power of this music is never lost: listen to the slow movement of the First - it comes across as a picture of devastation unmatched in other recordings, including Belohlavek's own with the Czech Philharmonic. Impressive as these recordings are at first hearing you'll find more and more to discover on repeated hearings.

Despite Martinu's symphonies being very underrated there are plenty of good recordings, many mentioned here by other reviewers. You can even add the naxos series with Arthur Fagen.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steve TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD
I bought this set in 2011 and was so pleased with it I meant to write a review, but never got round to it; one of those things. I see that this has just been been given a 'Gramophone' magazine Orchestral award. I don't always go along with these awards, but they've got it spot on this time. These performances of Martinu's six symphonies are in every way superb. The BBC S.O. were recorded live, and their playing is not only exciting as only the best live performances can be, but they play as the equal of any orchestra on earth. Clearly they clicked with their then chief conductor Belohlavek, and the interpretations, well, they just blow away the competition. Hardly a week passed without my playing a couple of the symphonies; these were by far my most-played CDs of 2011 and continue to visit the CD player with regularity.

I have the Neumann set (very good, with typical spacious Supraphon recording); Bryden Thomson, which I now find more rewarding than when I first encountered them (on L.P.s); and the much-praised Jarvi set at an amazing bargain price on Brilliant Classics - I have tried to join the consensus here, but failed- I find that Jarvi makes Martinu sound too much like Shostakovich in places. But Martinu certainly isn't Shostakovich. You may disagree.

An important factor is the recording quality. These performances were recorded 'live' in the Barbican, London, by the BBC. That is significant, as many recordings from that hall, particularly on the LSO Live label, sound terribly dry and and close-miked. These sound far more 'open', with a hall acoustic, as though the engineers had placed the mikes further back. Also I believe there has been some limited, but very beneficial, post-recording treatment to open out the recordings further.
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