Bohuslav Martinů: Early Orchestral Works, Volume One

Catalogue No: TOCC0156
EAN/UPC: 5060113441560
Release Date: 2013-04-01
Composer: Bohuslav Martinů
Artists: Adam Szlęzak, Andrzej Krzyżanowski, Artur Paciorkiewicz, Ian Hobson, Jakub Haufa, Sinfonia Varsovia

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. This series of CDs opens that treasure trove, revealing Martinů on the path to mastery. It presents first recordings of some astonishingly attractive music, much of it showing the good-natured influence of Czech folk traditions, some of it evocative and atmospheric — and almost all of it irresistibly charming.

Sinfonia Varsovia, orchestra
Ian Hobson, conductor
Adam Szlęzak, cor anglais
Andrzej Krzyżanowski, flute
Jakub Haufa, violin
Artur Paciorkiewicz, viola

10 reviews for Bohuslav Martinů: Early Orchestral Works, Volume One

  1. :

    ‘With still much to discover in Martinů’s output, this engaging disc does much to fill in some gaps. In the brief Pièce en forme de scherzo (1929, orch ‘30) the familiar voice is consistently present; otherwise only in the Little Dance Suite (1919, and anything but little!) do we hear flashes of the composer to come. Village Feast (1907) is Martinů’s first known orchestral work, a charming but naive tone poem. The untitled Orchestral Movement (1914) and Nocturno I (1915) are more impressive essays in impressionism. Ian Hobson proves a wholly sympathetic interpreter, securing fine, idiomatic performances throughout from Sinfonia Varsovia, in excellent sound. It may not be Martinů as we know it, but this is a hugely enjoyable, fascinating disc.’

    —Guy Rickards, Klassisk Musikkmagasin

  2. :

    This is a beautiful recording and hope this is the first of many to come. Martinu’s early output isn’t represented well on CD. I’d be forever in love with Toccata if they recorded Martinu’s complete ballet Istar. Pretty please 🙂

  3. :

    Many congratulations to Martin Anderson, Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia and Michael Crump in producing such a wonderful disc! I have been wanting to hear what these early orchestral works sounded like since I started my serious research into Martinu’s music more than 25 years ago; now I know. What magical and colourful sounds he produces with such inventive orchestration; clearly a master of the orchestra by his early twenties! I have played the disc several times already in the last few days and am totally hooked!! I eagerly await further volumes in the series. Martinu fans need not hesitate others new to the composer should sample immediately as there are many delights within!

  4. :

    ‘The recording for this Toccata release is very good indeed, set in a satisfactory studio acoustic and capturing plenty of that colour and detail which is a requirement even for these early Martinu scores. The orchestral playing is also first […]. I applaud its [this CD’s] arrival wholeheartedly.’

    —Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International

  5. :

    ‘I simply don’t understand how these are first recordings, or how this music is so ignored. […] gosh these pieces are lovely. […]

    All throughout, the playing of the Sinfonia Varsovia is impressively committed, and Ian Hobson proves a terrific conductor of this music, skilfully weaving together the threads of Martinů’s impressionism, Czech heritage and overall genius as a colourist. There’s a long and excellent essay in the booklet by Martinů scholar Michael Crump, which I enjoyed reading even while not listening.

    I feel like saying music that isn’t serious scares away listeners and cheapens its importance. So forget about whether or not this is serious. It made me happy – it’s an hour of sheer aural satisfaction, and it’s downright bizarre that this music isn’t better-known. Treat yourself!’

    —Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International

  6. :

    ‘The performances are very good indeed. Ian Hobson is a reliable and enthusiastic guide to this unknown repertoire, and the Sinfonia Varsovia plays with its usual expertise. The orchestra’s wind and string soloists are all top-notch, and the engineering is warm and well-balanced. This is going to be a series eminently worth following, one which promises many wonderful discoveries (like the ballet Istar). Stay tuned.’

    —David Hurwitz, Classic Today

  7. :

    ‘If you, like me, only happen to know Martinu by way of his symphonies, piano concertos and some ballets this disc will give you a very pleasant surprise. Here you’ll hear the way earlier Czech composers like Dvorak and Suk inspired and influenced the young Martinu. All numbers on this disc are a joy. The presentation by Toccata is superb and although you won’t be able to hear other interpretations of these works – totally unnecessary I think given the commitment by orchestra and conductor on this disc – this is a revelation. Somewhere I’ve read this series will contain 6 disc! Wow! The Little Dance Suite made me laugh; it runs for 43 minutes so I wonder if there’s a Large Dance Suite too?’

    —Charles Voogd, Amazon Review

  8. :

    ‘Musicologist Michael Crump did the restoration work on all but one of these pieces, and it was by no means a straightforward job. He also provides notes for the CD that are so exhaustive, interesting, well researched, and well written that I will not attempt to paraphrase them. Suffice to say this program is of considerable interest, warmly recorded and played with precision and panache by the Sinfonia Varsovia under the internationally acclaimed pianist and conductor Ian Hobson. I await future issues in this series with enthusiasm.’

    —Phillip Scott, Fanfare magazine September/October 2013

  9. :

    ‘the end result is a stunning vindication of hard work plus an inspired interpreter. […] Hobson’s deeply ingrained sensitivity as a performer comes through in everything he does. […]

    I must give high praise to the engineers, Gabriela Blicharz and Lech Dudzik, who managed to capture exceptionally clear yet slightly ambient sound for the group. This is certainly a fine collection of early Martinů works. Highly recommended to fans of the composer and/or conductor.’

    —Lynn René Bayley, Fanafare Magazine September/October 2013

  10. :

    ‘Versiones competentes para una serie que habrá que seguir de cerca.’

    —Juan Carlos Moreno, Ritmo, January 2014

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