Echoes Of Bohemia
Catalog: CHSA 5348
Orsino Ensemble Llinos Owen Peter Sparks James Baillieu
Following their début album, Belle Époque, the Orsino Ensemble turns its attention to music from Bohemia. There is a strong tradition of Czech wind playing, and hence a wealth of great repertoire on which to draw. Antoine Reicha was a contemporary (and friend) of Beethoven. His E flat Quintet, published in 1817, demonstrates his harmonic ingenuity and talent for idiomatic instrumental writing. Mládí, described by Janácek as ‘…a sort of memoir of youth’, was composed in 1924 in celebration of the composer’s own seventieth birthday, and the mood of the piece is optimistic throughout. Born in Brno, Pavel Haas studied at the city’s conservatory, under Janácek – indeed Haas is widely considered to be Janácek’s greatest pupil. Composed in 1929, the Wind Quintet typifies his quirky musical imagination and affinity for instrumental timbre. Bohuslav Martinu came from the small town of Policka, on the Czech-Moravian border, but received his early musical education in Prague, where he also played second violin in the Czech Philharmonic. A government scholarship enabled him to move to Paris in the early 1920s to study with Roussel. Martinu immersed himself in Parisian musical life, the works of Stravinsky and the Jazz scene proving two considerable influences on his own compositions. His Sextet for Wind and Piano is considered one of his most successful Jazz-inspired pieces and, although an early work, demonstrates the natural melodic style so typical of his later works.