Martinů’s mature orchestral works are now a mainstay of the repertoire. But the generous quantity of orchestral music he wrote between his late teens and early thirties is as good as unknown; some of it, indeed, has never even been performed. That’s the case with the ballet Stín (‘The Shadow’) from 1916, which has its world premiere in this recording – astonishingly, in view of the quality of the music it contains. Although the action of the ballet is dark – a girl dances with her shadow in the presence of Death – Martinů’s score presents a series of remarkably buoyant and cheery dances.
Dorota Szczepańska, offstage soprano Anna Maria Staśkiewicz, violin Agnieszka Kopacka, piano Sinfonia Varsovia Ian Hobson, conductor
Catalogue No: TOCC0249EAN/UPC: 5060113442499Release Date: 01.06.2016Composer: Bohuslav Martinů Artists: Agnieszka Kopacka, Anna Maria Staśkiewicz, Dorota Szczepańska, Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia
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Colin Clarke :
‘There is a huge amount of music by Martinů, and it is good that works outside of the more familiar are beginning to surface. … Hobson clearly loves this piece. There is huge tenderness in the “Girl’s Dance,” particularly just before the Lento. While there is more than an element of darkness to the story, Martinů’s music is remarkably chipper, and everywhere graceful. Expertly scored, one particularly relishes the violin solos of Anna Maria Staśkiewicz, especially perhaps the one in the Lento section accompanied by eight divided strings and harp. … The booklet notes tell us that there are no stage directions whatsoever for over 1,000 measures, but what joy is contained within those stretches for the listener. The sighing gestures of the Tempo di menuetto, a delight in themselves, give way to a lovely solo violin theme. … This is the first recording of The Shadow. Volume One of this series of Early Orchestral Works by Martinů was welcomed by Lynn René Bayley in Fanfare 37:1; it falls to me to both echo and extend her enthusiasm.’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016
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