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Martinu: The 6 Symphonies / Belohlavek, BBC Symphony

Album Summary

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 1
>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 2
>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 3
>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 4
>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 5
>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 6 ("Fantaisies symphoniques"), H. 343
Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Magic always happens when Belohlávek conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Czech works...this set of Martinu’s six symphonies, taken from Barbican concerts last season, overflows with the same qualities that make the music so endearing: heart-warming ebullience, visionary fantasy, soaring passion, the most piquant orchestral colours." -The Times

Onyx presents the first complete CD cycle of Martinu's symphonies, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jirí Belohlávek. These works, which are a major contribution to 20th century symphonic literature, are still undervalued. Spanning the years surrounding the Second World War, they capture the turmoil, hopes and fears of the composer and his homeland - a homeland that suffered unimaginable cruelties under the Nazis. At the end of the war, Martinu was the only major Czech composer of his generation to have survived. Throughout these sometimes-turbulent works, the irrepressible Czech spirit survives.

"You won’t find a more persuasive champion than Belohlávek, who has the music in his blood. His skill at unravelling Martinu’s rhythmic and textural knots – evidenced time and again in these live performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra – is such that you immediately sense the stature of the music." -The Financial Times

"Martinu’s symphonies tend to divide opinion and have not enjoyed anything like the same exposure as those of his Czech predecessor, Dvorak. But if anyone can find the key to their language, it is Jirí Belohlávek...there is plenty of freshness, verve and expressive wisdom on this set." -The Daily Telegraph

"The BBC Symphony Orchestra sounds consistently alert, nimble and alive to Martinu's distinct musical moods...Belohlávek demonstrates total commitment and concentration and his players are with him at every turn, captured in sharp sound that reveals the workings of the music. And since when did the BBC SO's strings have such a chameleonic ability to twist and shade their collective mood? Impressive and charming." -Classic FM

"Belohlavek and the orchestra are superb in the first three symphonies. He captures Martinu's shimmering, luminous orchestral textures and invests the pervasive 'sprung' rhythms of the faster movements with an infectious bounce. Belohlavek's emotional engagement is always complete...and throughout the set, Belohlavek's grasp of the trajectory of the symphonic argument is at all times apparent." -BBC Music Magazine

"Play them back to back and the inevitable risk is that they may all begin to sound too much alike, but such is Jiri Belohlavek's skill as a Martinu interpreter that the effect is still of impressive stylistic variety...In short, Belohlavek and the BBC SO are now my top recommendation for the Martinu symphonies." -Gramophone

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Barbican Hall, London, England (10/2009-05/2010).



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Works Details

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 1
  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek
  • Running Time: 36 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 05/1942-09/1942

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 2
  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek
  • Notes: Composition written: 05/29/1943-07/24/1943.
  • Running Time: 24 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 3
  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek
  • Notes: Composition written: 05/02/1944-06/14/1944.
  • Running Time: 30 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 4
  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek
  • Notes: Composition written: 04/01/1945-06/14/1945.
  • Running Time: 33 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 5
  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek
  • Notes: Composition written: 02/1946-05/1946.
  • Running Time: 27 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 02/1946-05/1946

>Martinu, Bohuslav : Symphony no 6 ("Fantaisies symphoniques"), H. 343
  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek
  • Running Time: 28 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern