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A drink of cool May water


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In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2014 16:38:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Jul 2014 16:45:59 BDT
Mondoro says:
Malx and Stuart,

I have the Naxos version with Kosler and an English translation, but the Czech narration has a majesty of its own.

Yes, it is a troubling work, lacking the warmth and compassion of the Greek Passion, but then it is addressing the issues of death and loss.

Posted on 21 Jul 2014 07:20:11 BDT
There aren't too many versions of Gilgamesh doing the rounds , but where Martinu's concerned Jiri Belohlavek always seems to come up with the goods. Interestingly, there appears to be a version with an English narration by Jack Shepherd too. It's one of the few BM works I've never really warmed to - must dig it out today for another go.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2014 23:46:27 BDT
Malx says:
Mondoro - I recall hearing Martinu's Gilgamesh on a BBC Music magazine disc quite a few years ago, it struck me then as being a work that would be worth further investigation. Investigation I never got round to for whatever reason, do you have a recording that you would recommend.

Posted on 20 Jul 2014 22:30:59 BDT
Mondoro says:
Martinu's oratorio Gilgamesh and his opera The Greek Passion have been long favourites, conveying important truths as well as providing superb music.

Posted on 20 Jul 2014 09:01:40 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Jul 2014 09:02:17 BDT]

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 21:06:52 BDT
Lez Lee says:
Just been reading his Wiki entry and was amazed to see he taught Alan Hovhaness, H. Owen Reed, and......... Burt Bacharach! Who knew?

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 20:03:35 BDT
Well, I was hoping we could maybe lather it up into some kind of eco-ethnic crossover hit... you know, 2014's Gorecki No 3... and then maybe a free pass to the Policka festival would be very welcome...

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2014 19:38:04 BDT
Roasted Swan says:
Stuart - if you're not on commission you should be! Its great to read that kind of passion in a post and a review. It makes me want to hear the piece for sure. With Martinu I have a particular weakness for his jazz-influenced pieces - not necessarily important or a major part of his output but so quirky - Martinu - Works inspired by Jazz & Sport - is a favourite disc - wonderfully dead-pan comic performances.

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 19:12:02 BDT
Lez Lee says:
Hope you're on commission, Stuart!

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 18:03:08 BDT
Jolly good.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2014 16:32:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jul 2014 16:55:43 BDT
I find it more than just a very small part but will have to check out the other two pieces.

Added later: After listening to more of the work I have been won over; I have added it to my wish list.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2014 16:15:13 BDT
The spoken word plays a very small part here, though - perhaps only a few sections on the first piece.

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 16:10:49 BDT
I also have just listened to it on Spotify. The music is beautiful but I find the spoken poetry off-putting. The Epic of Gilgamesh also has a speaker but the music content is higher so it doesn't trouble me there.

This is a purely personal thing; we discussed mixed spoken word and music works a couple of years ago and I like very few in that category. Perversely, opera with spoken dialogue doesn't bother me.

I very recently bought the Field Mass (Belohlavek) and greatly enjoyed it. Also, over the past few weeks I have been listening to quite a lot of Czech choral music, most of it from Janacek and Foerster.

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 15:58:29 BDT
Oh, yes indeed. Highly unusual and lovely. I keep thinking I have almost everything by BM, then new stuff comes out. Personal highlights include: the Frescoes of Piero della Francesca, the Second Cello Concerto & the 4th symphony.

Posted on 18 Jul 2014 15:51:21 BDT
Lez Lee says:
Had a listen on Spotify - it's everything you say! Found a cheap copy on EB and ordered it.
I know and like his symphonies but haven't explored much further.
I also like his Martinu: Field Mass very much. I presume you know it?

Thanks for your recommendation ;-)

Initial post: 18 Jul 2014 15:29:03 BDT
Martinu - Opening of the wells

I praised this to the skies in my review but it's so bloody beautiful it seems a shame not to shout it around a bit. At the end of his life, Czech composer Martinu, in exile for around thirty years, collaborated with a poet from his Moravian hometown on these three folk-inspired cantatas. Martinu liked tinkering with weird combinations of instruments, so the second piece here for instance makes use of flute, clarinet, French horn, accordion and piano, but it's the voices that make it so magical - I like a Slavic accent to my music, and here they are just spine-ticklingly gorgeous as soloists and, when pitched against the choir, just about the loveliest sound you might ever hope to hear. A secular, Arcadian Mass of sorts.
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