Magazine article Gramophone

Martinu: 'Small Storms'

Magazine article Gramophone

Martinu: 'Small Storms'

Article excerpt

Martinu

'Small Storms' Seven Arabesques. H201. Ariette, H188b. Nocturnes, H189. Suite miniature, H192. Variations on a Slovakian Theme, H378. Variations on a Theme of Rossini, H290 Meredith Blecha-Wells vc SunMinKim pf Navona (F) NV6092 (59' * DDD)

Martinu's three cello sonatas were preceded by a clutch of suites and movements written in Paris (mostly) in 1930-31. The largest of these, the six Pastorals, HI90, is his longest for this combination but omitted from Navona's 'collection of short pieces by Bohuslav Martinu', replaced by the two vibrant sets of variations from 1942 (Rossini) and 1959 (Slovak), his most popular works for cello and piano.

This is the debut recording by Meredith Blecha-Wells, Associate Professor of Cello at Oklahoma State University. Hers is a beautifully full and lyrically strong tone, heard at its best in the Lento, the substantial second of the four Nocturnes (1931), and in the outer sections of the brief Ariette of the same year. The latter's central section is in Martinu's trademark 'jazz' style of the 1920s. Blecha-Wells is equally adept at faster, more vigorous music, as evident in the Seven Arabesques (1930), the subtitle of which--Etudes rhythmiques--gives the clue to their character. Listen to the Allegretto sixth, with its hints of Spanish dance.

There are other versions available of all these works but not gathered together on one disc (a couple of collections, not listed below, include the Pastorals but leave out something else). …

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