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Martinů: Concerto for Violin, Piano & Orchestra (CD)

Martinů: Concerto for Violin, Piano & Orchestra (CD)

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Bohuslav Martinů was a violinist himself, yet the piano color in many of his symphonic scores is his actual signature. The two instruments are assigned solo roles in the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (1953), commissioned by Benno and Sylvia Rabinof, who duly premiered it in May 1954. Written concurrently with Symphony No. 6 (Fantaisies symphoniques), the remarkable work is rarely performed. Different is the case of Violin Sonata No. 3 (1944) — created in the USA, too — which has long been a staple of violinists’ repertoires worldwide. Amid the atmosphere of the imminent end of World War II and feeling homesick, Martinů conceived a monument whose duration is that of a symphony, a work teeming with contrastive drama and lyricism, and featuring a Dvorák-like nostalgia, evoking his Czech roots. In comparison with the two “American” works, the Five Short Pieces (1930), dating from the composer’s Paris period, contain far rougher harmonies and piquancy, attesting to a penchant for the Charleston as well as a propensity to the contrapuntal style.

On this album, the globally renowned artists Josef Špaček and Miroslav Sekera present Martinů as an astute creator of chamber music and concertos, a composer both international and Czech, widely known and still being discovered alike.

Martinů Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, H. 342
Josef Špaček violin
Miroslav Sekera piano
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Petr Popelka conductor
October 2021, Dvořák Hall, Prague

Martinů Violin Sonata No. 3, H. 303
Josef Špaček violin
Miroslav Sekera piano
May 2020, Dvořák Hall, Prague

Martinů Five Short Pieces for Violin and Piano, H. 184
Josef Špaček violin
Miroslav Sekera piano
October 2022, Dvořák Hall, Prague

Discs: 1
Record Label: Supraphon
Release Date: September 22, 2023

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