Magazine article Gramophone

Martinu: J Novak

Magazine article Gramophone

Martinu: J Novak

Article excerpt

Martinu * J Novak Martinu Bouquet of Flowers (Kytice) (a) J Novak Philharmonic Dances (a) Katenna Knezikova sop (a) Michaela Kapustova contr (a) Jaroslav Brezina ten (a) Adam Plachetka bass (a) Prague Philharmonic Choir & Children's Choir; Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra / Tomas Netopil Supraphon (F) SU4220-2 (66' * DDD * T/t) (a) Recorded live at the Rudolfinum, Prague, December 17-19, 2016

Martinu never heard a live performance of his folk cantata, or 'cycle of compositions to folk texts', Kytice ('Bouquet of Flowers', 1937). Indeed, he seems not to have heard any performance until a few months before his death in 1959 when a copy of Karel Ancerl's 1955 recording, made after the first concert performance, reached Paul Sacher, with whom the composer and his wife were living in exile.

Kytice was written originally for Czech Radio for broadcasting, though it was always viable as a concert item. It consists of eight movements, arranged in pairs: a breezy, brief Overture, two interludes and settings of five Moravian folk texts from Frantisek Susil's collection. Together, they make a rather double-edged, light-and-shade sequence, the Overture's brightness offset by the cautionary tale of Uliana (who poisons her brother so she can run off with no fewer than four hussars! …

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