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Martinu: Orchestral Suites (3) from 'Spalicek'; Rhapsody-Concerto for viola & orchestra / Mikhail Zemtsov, viola; Estonian Nat'l SO, Neeme Jarvi

Album Summary

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Spalícek, suite no 1 from the ballet, H. 214a (arranged by Riha Milos)
>Martinu, Bohuslav : Spalícek, suite no 2 from the ballet, H. 214b (arranged by Riha Milos)
>Martinu, Bohuslav : Rhapsodie for Viola and Orchestra
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This stunning album, recorded in the spectacular Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn, features to works by Bohuslav Martinu(1890-1959), performed by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Neeme Jarvi. Martinu was one of the most diverse composers of music for the stage. Spalicek was originally published as a ballet, but is better described as an opera-ballet, showcasing the composer's love for experimenting with different kinds of media in his works. Rhapsody-Concerto, written in 1952, shows the nostalgic depression that the composer was facing at the time of composition. The viola soloist performing on this recording is Mikhail Zemtsov.

BBC Music Magazine, March 2016
The Estonian strings sing their hearts out... the woodwind solos are very lovely, too. Viola-player Mikhail Zemtsov impresses with the sheer beauty of tone.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2016
Järvi conducts with bags of panache and charm... Zemtsov plays with dark, moody lyricism throughout. The orchestra strings sound very plush... an affecting performance.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
Spalicek (shpalichek) was an "opera-ballet" originally. It was composed in Paris in 1931, and its premiere was in Prague in 1933. But he revised it for performances in 1937 and 1940, and the final revision was for 1949 performances in Prague. The title means "chapbook", which in turn meant in English a collection of folk tales and ballads, national songs and riddles (do we still use that word?). The two suites have been recorded before. Here we have the suites as approved by Martinu. They never included any vocal parts. I like this sequence and can understand why the composer approved of the suites. My two favorite parts are 'Cinderella's Ball' and 'The Magic Bag'. The first one comes just before the end of Suite 1 and the second at the very end of Suite 2. The Spalicek music takes 45 minutes here, and Neeme Jarvi conducts it much better than Mackerras. He simply invests more in every moment, in contrast to Mackerras, who tends to rush thru everything in a silly English attempt to make it "lively". I should also inform you that the sound here is wonderful.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn (07/02/2015/07/03/2015); Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn (09/30/2014-10/03/2014).



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Works Details

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Spalícek, suite no 1 from the ballet, H. 214a (arranged by Riha Milos)
  • Performer: Liidia Ilves (Piano)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Ensemble: Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn (09/30/2014-10/03/2014)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1940

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Spalícek, suite no 2 from the ballet, H. 214b (arranged by Riha Milos)
  • Performer: Liidia Ilves (Piano)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn (09/30/2014-10/03/2014)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1940

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Rhapsodie for Viola and Orchestra
  • Performer: Mikhail Zemtsov (Viola)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn (07/02/2015/07/03/2015)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern