41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2001
To understand the music of the twentieth century Czech composer Martinu consider it a journey in search of his own authentic voice.The composers itinerant life took him from Czecheslovakia to Paris to refuge in the United States of America and finally back to Europe. This excellent double c.d.of most of his major concerto works for single piano and orchestra traces this evolution.One can hear the influence of jazz and "neo-baroque"in his first piano concerto.The third piano concerto shows a vast tragic sweep reminiscent of the 2 Brahms piano concerti.There are far eastern chant like textures in his fourth piano concerto.The fifth seems to be journey's end with a true authentic individual voice appearing. Martinu lived through the horrors of the second world war and forced exile from Europe.This was later extended by the advent of communism in his native Czecheslovakia.In spite of personal hardships suffered his music proclaims a very upbeat and cheerful philosophy and outlook on life.Joy and an optimism for the future can be found in the darkest hour even when his music traverses sad minor key sections.Light and good will prevail and the memory of childhood rural rolling landscapes will stay beautiful whatever the transient social or political reality of the day.Nostalgia is introduced as a companion which doesn't have to imply tears and gloom but can be uplifting and contented. This recording is robust and infused by the intelligent sensitivity of an orchestra and soloist who seem to revel in reclaiming their native Czech son.The piano playing is muscular and faultless even through the difficult dream like "incantations" of the fourth piano concerto,no one puts a foot wrong in the illumination of this subtle and introverted music. Don't be put off by the intimidating reputation of twentieth century music,Martinu is tuneful,accessible and rich in a musical language that engages the listener rather than antagonises.A gem of a recording,don't miss it.