Magazine article Czech Music

Bohuslav Martinu Madrigals

Magazine article Czech Music

Bohuslav Martinu Madrigals

Article excerpt

Bohuslav Martinu Madrigals Martinu Voices, Jakub Fiser--violin, Karel Kosarek--piano, Lukas Vasilek--choirmaster.

Text: EN, GE, FR, CZ. Recorded: Mar.

2016--Jan. 2017 Martinu Hall, Prague.

Released: 2018. TT: 59:37.

1 CD Supraphon SU 4237-2

For decades, Bohuslav Martinu has been the Supraphon label's seminal composer. In recent years, however, he has been featured with even greater regularity than back in the early 2000s, and the positive audience and critical responses have made each of Supraphon's Martinu projects an event of great import. The recording of his oratorio The Epic ojGilgamesh (SU 4225-2) and the pastoral opera What Men Live By (SU 4233-5) have already been reviewed in Czech Music Quarterly. Releasing so many new Supraphon projects focusing on Martinu--each one better than the other--runs the risk of neglecting the dramaturgically original and slightly more demanding album devoted to the composer's vocal madrigals and other choral works from the years 1934-1959. These are connected through their use of Czech and Moravian folk poetry, put to music within the framework of the a capella madrigal, and occasionally spiced up by instrumental violin accompaniment (Jakub Fiser) or violin and piano (Karel Kosarek) The album, which runs for close to an hour, offers an overview of the last twenty five years of Martinu's work--a fact which most true aficionados will appreciate. First and foremost, it is, however, an artistic masterpiece which is very listenable and consistently enjoyable for the audience. And that also applies to our times, which--for a number of reasons which in themselves merit proper sociological study--have not been favourable to choral compositions (collective singing in the age of hypertrophied individualism, the complexity of these musical forms, sophisticated texts, etc.). The interpretive qualities of choir master Lukas Vasilek and his elite Martinu Voices vocal ensemble is beyond question, and the CD under review proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. …

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