Gramophone Award Winner - Recital 2009
Live recording from the work’s world premieres on 11 and 12 December 2008.
This is not the first case of a premiere performance of a work by Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) decades after his death. On 11 December 2008 the sold-out Rudolfinum in Prague heard for the first time a work which ranks among Martinu’s most significant and which the composer himself highly esteemed. Martinu originally composed the opera Juliette in Czech. However, so as to ensure appropriate publicity for the work, he wanted – already armed with a French libretto – to place extracts from the most relevant scenes on French radio. Yet Three Fragments from the Opera Juliette (The Key to Dreams) was not broadcast on the radio and had to wait some 70 years for its first performance. This was entrusted to the safe hands of that most competent of conductors Sir Charles Mackerras, who has devoted a great part of his life to discovering Czech music and promoting it on world stages. Thanks to Martinu’s dreamily beautiful music and the remarkable engagement of all the interpreters, the conductor’s December leave-taking of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was transformed into a joint triumph. After experiencing Magdalena Kožená in the role of Juliette, it is hard to imagine another star singer in her place. The Australian tenor Steve Davislim, who performed in the role of Michel, was a splendid partner to Magdalena Kožená in the lyrical and dramatic position. On this CD, Three Fragments is supplemented by the orchestral suite from the same opera, which sensitively treats the music of all three Acts and corresponds with the “dreamy logic” of the original.
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