Bohuslav Martinu

Could some of the cognescenti please make some recommendations for his music? I have some of his chamber music and would like to enjoy some of his symphonies and similar works for larger ensembles. Of course, good sound is a welcome feature so you might want to rate them for performance and sound...Thanks, IJ
You might enjoy his 6th symphony by Belohlavek and the Czech Phil. on Chandos 8897. The disc includes Janacek Sinfonietta and Suk's Fantasticke Scherzo. This is an outstanding recording of the 5th - the companion pieces are done well also and make for a very enjoyable listening session.
Some suggestions:
- The various Madrigal Sonatas, e.g., for violin and viola; for oboe, clarinet and bassoon; for violin and piano' for piano, flute and violin. The Dartington Ensemble on Hyperion offer very good performances.
- The String Quartets 4, 5, 6 and 7. The Panocha Quartet offer good performances.
- Sonata 1 for Cello and Piano. Lavotha (vc) and Aberg (pf) offer a fine performance on the BIS label.
- Duo for Violin and Cello - this appears on the marvelous CD "Glass Beads Game" by Delmoni (vn) and Rosen (vc). This is the only Martinu piece on this CD, but the whole CD is well worth acquiring.

- Symphony #6, as already suggested, but the 1st is a nice introduction as well.
- Concerto for two string orchestras, piano and tympani
- Sinfonietta Giocosa - suggest Panenka (pf) and Kosler with the CzechSO.
- Violin Concerto 1 - if you can find the Suk (vn) performance on Supraphon, it is superb.
If I remember correctly, the Naxos label has released several recordings of Martinu's music. Their CD's sell for $7, and the sound quality is usually good to excellent -- all this makes Naxos a good label to buy when you want to try something new.
For best interpretations go to the Hungatron and Supraphon labels. The Czech P. O. under various conductors. Karel Ancerl as well as Kosler conducts with great sensitivity. The above Belohlavek may be interesting as well. Tower has all. Cheers Tweekerman
Can you suggest sources? Last time I ordered Supraphon from B&N I received one of the 5 CDs I ordered...
The Concerto for two String Orchestras, piano, and tympani (as mentioned above) is the masterpiece, followed closely by the Symphony #3. Alas, Martinu wrote a ton of music, and most of it (as it also true of Villa-Lobos, and Milhaud, other hyperproductive composers of the twentieth century) is workmanlike and entertaining rather than profound, falling rather too easily into formula. You could try some of the piano music or piano concertos played by Firkusny, and the string quartets. The opera "The Greek Passion" is also quite fine.
Oh, yes, and the Flute Sonata. One of his finest pieces.
Martinu is such an interesting composer, so cool. Check out the Martinu Madrigals for violin and viola performed by Joseph and Lillian Fuchs. On Decca, only on LP. A great piece and a great performance by the piece's dedicatees.
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