Martinu: Orchestral Works

Album cover art for upc 099925429522
Catalog: SU4295-2
Format: CD


“And the sculptor fixes the likeness of a face in clay. And you walked by and passed before his work, and you glanced at the face and then walked on your way. And then it happened that you were not quite the same. Slightly changed, but changed.” The motto Bohuslav Martinu chose from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Citadelle for one of his Parables also poetically defines the transformational power of his final orchestral opuses. Following the six symphonies composed in the USA, he wrote them in Europe, much closer to his homeland. The orchestral triptych Les Fresques de Piero della Francesca was inspired by the work of the Italian Renaissance master. As Martinu himself put it: “The frescoes harbor a peculiar kind of solemn and rigid tranquility, abounding in strange, serene and moving poetry; it is the darkened colored atmosphere I strove to express in music.” The Parables is another piece in which Martinu reflected his philosophical ideas, with each of its three movements treating an allegory of life and human quest in the world. The symphonic prelude The Rock refers to the landing place of the English settlers who came to North America in 1619, as well as Martinu’s own fate as a homeless pilgrim. Martinu’s very last symphonic work, Estampes, comes across more as a fine drawing interwoven with silence than an impasto, as is the case of his previous orchestral pieces. These brilliant, extraordinary Martinu works are yet to gain the recognition they so richly deserve. The new Supraphon recording, made by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under the renowned conductor Tomáš Netopil, affords hope that this will be set right. It would be a pity to miss out on such beauty. Bohuslav Martinu’s late pinnacles – beauty and profundity yet to be discovered.

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