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Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959)

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Martinu & Schulhoff - String Sextets

Martinu & Schulhoff - String Sextets


Martinu:

String Sextet, H. 224

Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola (Duo No. 1), H. 313

played by Anthony Marwood and Sally Beamish

Schulhoff:

String Sextet


“A communist Jew in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, Schulhoff died in a Nazi concentration camp. The heart of his String Sextet, the slow movement, is superlatively played as are Martinu's two hyper inventive works.” BBC Music Magazine, Proms 2008 *****

“Martinu at his best. The Three Madrigals are given stunning performances” Gramophone Magazine

“The Madrigals are post-war, very typical Martinu, and are despatched with great virtuosity. The Raphael Ensemble give a masterly account of them, and the 1991 recording is truthful and lifelike.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Helios - CDH55321

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Martinu - Chamber Music

Martinu - Chamber Music


Martinu:

Five Madrigal Stanzas

for violin and piano

Four Madrigals

for oboe, clarinet and bassoon

Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola (Duo No. 1), H. 313

Madrigal Sonata

for piano, flute and violin

Nonet for wind quintet, violin, viola, cello & double bass, H. 374

Trio for Flute, Cello & Piano, H. 300

Sonatina for Two Violins & Piano, H. 198

La Revue de Cuisine

for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, cello, piano


The Dartington Ensemble

“First-class performances and superb recording. An indispensable issue for lovers of Martinu's music” Penguin Guide

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Hyperion Dyads - CDD22039

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Martinu: Sonatas for Cello & Piano Nos. 1-3

Martinu: Sonatas for Cello & Piano Nos. 1-3


Steven Isserlis (cello) & Peter Evans (piano)

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Helios - CDH55185

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Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 1

Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 1


Martinu:

Concerto for flute, violin and orchestra H252

Duo concertante for two violins and orchestra H264

Concerto in D major for two violins and orchestra H329


Bohuslav Matoušek (violin), Janne Thomsen (flute), Régis Pasquier (violin) & Jennifer Koh (violin)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood

“What a splendidly bracing collection this is. Bohuslav Matousek and his fellow soloists are excellent advocates for this repertoire, delivering engaging performances of the motoric fast movements alongside generous lyricism in the more broadly conceived slower movements.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2008 ****

“The first volume, in what will be a series of four devoted to Martinu's concertante works for violin, is completed by another enchanting early double concerto, for flute and violin, penned in just 10 days in 1936. There is no hint of rush in its fresh and lively invention, the solo roles played with beguiling ease by Janne Thomsen and Matoušek. Accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic - in whose second violin section the composer played in the 1920s - this disc is an utter delight from start to finish.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

“[Duo concertante] Written in Martinuo ’s best 1930s concerto grosso style, its three movements are limpidly scored, allowing the flowing, interweaving lines of the soloists to sound to best advantage; as the excellent booklet-notes say, ‘an extraordinary musical experience’ … this disc is an utter delight from start to finish” Gramophone Magazine

“Written in Martinu's best 1930s concerto grosso style, the Duo concertante's three movements (fast-slow-fast) are limpidly scored, allowing the flowing, interweaving lines of the soloists to sound to best advantage; as the excellent bookletnotes say, 'an extraordinary musical experience'.
For this equally vibrant recording, Régis Pasquier partners Bohuslav Matoušek while Jennifer Koh appears with Matoušek in the Concerto in D major (1950). Unlike its predecessor, the later work is in the standard 19th-century concerto format – one reason why Martinu did not number the works – and structurally quite different.
For one thing, there is no real slow movement, the central span (dovetailed into the finale) being moderate in pace with a più vivo central section. In atmosphere it is one of those fleet-footed yet serene works in which Martinu's inspiration seems just to beam from ear to ear.
This first volume, in what will be a series of four devoted to Martinu's concertante works for violin, is completed by another enchanting early double concerto, for flute and violin, penned in just 10 days in 1936. There is no hint of rush in its fresh and lively invention, the solo roles played with beguiling ease by Janne Thomsen and Matoušek. Accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic – in whose second violin section the composer played in the 1920s – this disc is an utter delight from start to finish.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Hyperion Martinu Violin and Orchestra Series - CDA67671

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Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 2

Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 2


Martinu:

Concerto da Camera for solo violin, piano, timpani, percussion & string orchestra

Concerto for violin, piano and orchestra H342

Czech Rhapsody for violin and piano

arranged for violin and orchestra by JiÚí Teml


Bohuslav Matoušek (violin) & Karel Košárek (piano)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood

This is the second volume in Hyperion’s set of the complete works for violin and orchestra by Martinuo, featuring the wonderful Bohuslav Matoušek with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Christopher Hogwood. Many first recordings are included in the series, as well as works totally unperformed outside the Czech Republic.

Included here is the Concerto da camera, a favourite among Martinuo’s instrumental concertos because of the freshness of its musical invention, the sensual sound of the orchestral part and the virtuosity of the solo parts.

The joyful Czech Rhapsody is a thrilling virtuoso work, dedicated to Kreisler.

The Concerto for violin, piano and orchestra is an enigmatic and highly personal work, structurally driven by its emotional nature and perhaps echoing the crisis in the composer’s personal life, caused by the sudden breakdown in the summer of 1952 of his long-term relationship with Rosalyn Barstow.

“With its fresh invention and lively demeanour, this remains one of his more popular concertos although it has never received its due on disc. This newcomer sets that omission straight, however, crisply performed and immaculately recorded. The same applies to its companion pieces…strongly recommended” Gramophone Magazine

“Matousek's strutting sense of rhythm, innate feel for the angular melodic line, comic touch and tender, almost homesick lyricism in the adagios make these compelling performances. He is more reflective in the Rhapsody Concerto, where even the virtuosic passages have a contemplative character. Christopher Hogwood conducts the Czech Philharmonic with bohemian zip and panache.” The Times, 10th May 2008 ****

“Christopher Hogwood and Katel Matoušek are entirely at home with this repertoire. There is a huge amount to enjoy.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008 ****

“A delightful second programme of Martinu violin concertos from Prague. Concerto da camera (1941)… remains one of his more popular concertos although it has never received its due on disc. This newcomer sets that omission straight, however, crisply performed and immaculately recorded. The disc concludes with Jirí Teml's idiomatic orchestration of the Czech Rhapsody... it is a splendid piece, warm and lyrical and beautifully played. Strongly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2008

“Hogwood and Hyperion here focus on the concertos for violin with piano. In the Concerto dacamera (1941), the keyboard is part – albeit a prominent one – of the strings-and-percussion accompaniment. Commissioned by Paul Sacher for the leader of his Basle Chamber Orchestra, it was premiered to great success in Switzerland (Martinu having just started his American exile at the time). With its fresh invention and lively demeanour, this remains one of his more popular concertos although it has never received its due on disc. This newcomer sets that omission straight, however, crisply performed and immaculately recorded.
The same applies to its companion pieces.
H342 (1952-53) is a true duo concerto, outwardly conventional in format but expressively complex, as Aleš BSezina notes in the booklet: 'Enigmatic and highly personal…structurally driven by its emotional nature, [and] probably echoes the crisis in the composer's personal life.' Musically, the work feels like an accompanied sonata for piano and violin with each soloist supporting and occupying the forefront by turns and the orchestra – which enjoys its own 'solo' passages – providing an additional dimension to the discourse.
The disc concludes with Jirí Teml's idiomatic orchestration of the Czech Rhapsody (1945), written for Kreisler and intended to be accompanied orchestrally; for various reasons the final version was never completed. Premiered by Régis Pasquier in 2001, it is a splendid piece, warm and lyrical and beautifully played.
Strongly recommended.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Hyperion Martinu Violin and Orchestra Series - CDA67672

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Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 3

Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 3


Martinu:

Suite concertante for violin and orchestra (first version), H276

First Recording

Suite concertante for violin and orchestra (second version), H276A

Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra


Bohuslav Matoušek (violin & viola)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood

This is the third volume in Hyperion’s set of the complete works for violin and orchestra by Martinuo, featuring the wonderful Bohuslav Matoušek with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Christopher Hogwood. Many first ecordings are included in the series, as well as works totally unperformed outside the Czech Republic. The two very different versions of Martinu’s Suite concertante are fascinating rarities. The only well-known work on this disc is the

Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra: a lyrical, virtuosic piece written for Jascha Viessi and one of the most performed viola concertos of the twentieth century.

The programme notes by Aleš Buesina are meticulously researched and provide a comprehensive background to the genesis and performance history of these works.

“Bohuslav Matousek plays all three works here with energy and an imaginative range of tonal colour, while the accompaniments from Christopher Hogwood and the Czech orchestra are equally resourceful.” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2008

“The new Suite languished unplayed until 1999. Both versions are delightful. Matoušek plays both with great understanding and finesse: the music needs lightness of touch. In the Rhapsody-Concerto Matoušek shows himself as adept a viola-player as he is violinist, sweeter-toned that Telecký and a match for Imai and Bukac.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2008

“The performance of the second version is exemplary, as is that of the two-movement Rhapsody Concerto where Matoušek, exchanging violin for viola, luxuriates in the radiant lyricism of Martinu's last period.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2008 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2008

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Hyperion Martinu Violin and Orchestra Series - CDA67673

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Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 4

Martinu - The complete music for violin and orchestra Volume 4


Martinu:

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1, H. 232bis

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2, H. 293


This recording is the last volume of a four-disc survey of Martinu’s complete output for solo violin and orchestra, including compositions with other solo instruments. They are performed here by the orchestra in which Martinuo played the violin, the distinguished Czech violinist Bohuslav Matoušek who is one of the foremost living exponents of this music, and conductor Christopher Hogwood.

Martinu’s Violin Concerto No. 1 was written for the celebrated Polish-born American violinist Samuel Dushkin. Although immediately appealing to the performer, its premiere was delayed due to the volatile European political situation in the thirties, and the score was lost during World War II when Martinuo was forced to hide his autographs in Europe and flee to the USA. The score was discovered in 1968 and the work did not receive its premiere until 1973. It is a dazzling, virtuoso work, revealing the influence of Dushkin’s violin playing, especially his liking for technical display.

The Violin Concerto No. 2 is different from its predecessor both stylistically and in terms of its fate. It was commissioned by Mishca Elman (1891–1967), a famous American violinist of Ukrainian origin. The work’s main characteristics recall the qualities of Elman’s playing, notably his unique sound, his preference for noble and elegant melodies, his exceptional feeling for the sonority of his instrument, his love of slow tempos, and his rich use of rubato and portamento.

Bohuslav Matoušek demonstrates his great versatility in idiomatic performances of these contrasting works.

“In these beautifully recorded performances, both Christopher Hogwood and Bohuslav Matoušek have a profound understanding of Martinu's style and the Czech Philharmonic response with radiant playing…” BBC Music Magazine, September 2008 *****

“The final set in Hyperion's Martinu survey brings us more excellent playing.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2008

“Martinu's two violin concertos have very different histories. The First was created for Dushkin in 1931, much tinkered with over the next few years and then 'lost' until unearthed in 1968.
The Second (1943) was written in just two months for Mischa Elman, premiered before the year was out and taken up by several violinists soon afterwards, often being programmed unnumbered until its predecessor came to light.
Josef Suk set the benchmark for both but his recordings, still in the Supraphon catalogue, have been overtaken by this newcomer and, in No 2, by Isabelle Faust's superb recent account (see below). Matoušek and Hogwood certainly have the measure of both scores and in the Second run Faust and Belohlávek close. Couplings may prove decisive; one recommendation is for the Hyperion set as a whole. Strongly recommended.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“They are both delightful works and Bohuslav Matousek plays them with much style and virtuosity. As in other issues in the series, Christopher Hogwood reveals total sympathy with the composer's sensibility.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Czech Piano Trios

Czech Piano Trios


Eben:

Piano Trio

Martinu:

Piano Trio No. 1 'Cinq pièces brèves', H. 193

Smetana:

Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15


The Florestan Trio is one of Britian’s best-loved chamber groups, and its many Hyperion recordings are routinely acclaimed as benchmark versions of the repertoire. After delighting listeners and critics with two discs of Dvorák, the ensemble now further explores the Czech piano trio repertoire.

The three works on this CD cover the complete span of what is usually thought of as the Czech school of composition. Smetana, regarded as the founding father, first showed the way to bring traditional dance and song into the mainstream of European composition, forging a national style. Eben, who died in 2007, was one of the most distinguished composers who carried this line to the present day. But, as these three contrasting pieces demonstrate, Czech composers were subject to very different kinds of influence at different times. Smetana’s Piano Trio, an early work, shows more influence from the mainstream giants of the time—particularly Schumann and Liszt—than it does from any ‘folk’ elements. By the time Martinuo wrote his first Piano Trio, he was immersed in the exciting cosmopolitan culture of twentieth-century Paris. And Petr Eben took the neoclassicism of Martinuo and his contemporaries, and developed his own individual approach to it.

“[The Eben] is the sort of score that the Florestans seem to relish, music full of subtle shades, many of them tucked carefully within subsidiary voices...[The Smetana] is an immensely imposing piece, written in the wake of great personal loss, and the Florestans do it justice...this is an excellent programme.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2010

“The Florestan are particularly successful in the two 20th-century trios. The brief Adagio of the Martinu is remarkably moving. If anything, the Eben is more impressive with the players completely in command of his distinctive and often introspective idiom.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2010 ****

“Their performance of the Smetana is very fine indeed...wonderfully expressive...right from the opening violin solo to the relentless intensity of the finale.” The Guardian, 15th July 2010 ***

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2010

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Hyperion - CDA67730

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Homage to Paderewski

Homage to Paderewski


Bartók:

Three Hungarian Folktunes, Sz. 65-66

Benjamin, A:

Elegiac Mazurka

Blumenfeld:

Kujawiak-Obertas (No. 2 from Suite polonaise No. 2, Op. 31)

Britten:

Mazurka Elegiaca op.23 no.2

Castelnuovo-Tedesco:

Hommage à Paderewski

Chaminade:

Étude symphonique Op. 28

Chanler:

Aftermath

Goossens:

Homage To Paderewski

Hammond, R:

Dance

Labunski:

Threnody

Martinu:

Mazurka ‘Homage to Paderewski’, H. 284

Milhaud:

Choral, Op. 111

Nin-Culmell:

In Memoriam Paderewski

Rathaus:

Kujawiak

Rieti:

Allegro danzante

Schelling:

Nocturne à Ragusa

Con tenerezza

Stojowski:

Cradle Song

Weinberger, J:

Étude in G major

Whithorne:

Hommage, Op. 58, No. 2

Wieniawski:

Étude, Op. 44 No. 22

Zarzycki:

Chant du printemps, Op. 34, No. 1


Following the resounding success of Jonathan Plowright’s 2010 Hommage à Chopin, the acclaimed British pianist becomes the first artist to record the album of works written and published in homage to one of the early twentieth century’s most fascinating figures, Polish pianist, composer and politician Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

Of the twenty-two works on this recording, from composers including Bartók, Martinu and Milhaud, seventeen were intended for the memorial piano album Homage to Paderewski published by Boosey & Hawkes in New York in 1942. A further six pieces written for the pianist also feature, including a Mazurka for two pianos by Britten, for which Plowright is joined by Aaron Shorr.

Plowright performs these diverse works with flair and dedication.

“Though not all the works are memorable...this is a fascinating document...Overall more reflective than virtuosic, this disc allows Plowright to show off his superb command of texture and colour.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 ****

“To be candid, not all the 24 items on offer on this disc are diamonds rather than paste...The genuine jewels include Ernest Schelling's sultry and ambitious Nocturne, a real find, and, better known, Britten's poignant Mazurka elegiaca...What is not forgettable are performances of a superlative technique and musicianship. Pianism and sheer musical quality of this order are rare at any time” Gramophone Magazine, January 2012

“Many of the composers have now disappeared into the mists of time, but all of these miniatures are well worth the warmth, affection, lyrical beauty and bravura that Plowright devotes to them...Plowright’s playing throughout is sublime.” The Telegraph, 27th October 2011 *****

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Hyperion - CDA67903

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Music for string trio

Music for string trio


Dohnányi:

Serenade in C major for String Trio Op. 10

Martinu:

String Trio No. 2, H. 238

Schoenberg:

String Trio, Op. 45


“I can't imagine a more committed performance of Schoenberg's String Trio than the one offered here by the Leopold String Trio. It's thoroughly engaging, and hugely impressive from all three players.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, August 2014

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Hyperion - CDA67429

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