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Jirí Belohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic follow up their critically acclaimed 2005 album of Martinu’s Symphonies Nos 3 and 4 (SU36312), which was nominated for a Grammy award and hailed by critics as a recording par excellence of these works.
This eagerly awaited CD, the second in a planned complete set, presents the composer’s last two symphonies, both written during his post-war sojourn in America.
Symphony No. 5 was finished in 1946 and reflects Martinu’s doubt and disenchantment over developments in Czechoslovakia, the homeland to which he would never return.
His last symphony, dedicated to his friend Charles Munch, then conductor of the Boston Symphony, was written during the years 1951–53. The wide-ranging and colourful orchestration of the “Symphonic Fantasies,”as Martinu himself titled it, marked a return to the symphonism and traditions of the late-Romantic music of the late 19th/early 20th centuries.
On this album, Jirí Belohlávek leads the Czech Philharmonic in a tribute to a composer on whose works he has been focusing for decades.
10th January 2010
“The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is brilliantly precise yet thoughtful.”
“the complex textures of the first movement [of the Fifth] are superbly delineated and the finale has thrilling immediacy... Belohlávek responds to [the Sixth's] disparate moods magnificently in a performance of, at times, breathtaking intensity.”
“Both works are splendidly rendered with No. 5 best of all, a vivid interpretation benefiting from the buzz of a live performance. Belohlávek gets the balace in the tricky finale just right, letting the mood-progression of sadness-joy-determination flow organically and logically...A richly rewarding disc.”
21st July 2011
“There's an easy mastery about his approach, which belies the difficulty of making this deceptively straightforward music appear as naturally expressive as it does here, and which he was clearly able to transmit to the BBCSO players as well. The busiest textures are beautifully transparent, ensuring the piquancy of the harmonies is never blunted, and no details are overlooked”
“The Czech Philharmonic cycle under Belohlavek on Chandos has real authenticity of feeling and very good recording quality to commend it.”
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