Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bohuslav Martinů - Double Concerto, Parables

Bohuslav Martinů was a prolific composer, an author of more than 400 works. And great amount of his opera were neoclassical in form and modern in content concerto pieces. His concertos became the field for searching the balance between expression and conceptual idea. One of supreme works among many Martinů’s concertos was Double Concerto for two string orchestras, piano and timpani. This concerto is great closure of prewar period in composers life. He finished working on score of this three-part composition on September 29th 1938, the same day Germany, France, Britain and Italy signed the "Munich pact" permitting German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland and then whole country. This was the beginning moment of composer’s emigration, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Twenty years later in 1958 he wrote Paraboly (Parables), one of best works of his after war period. This poetic work focused on surrealistic connections of ideas, which makes it sounds more abstract than Double Concerto. Before the war Martinů was interested in jazz and in his compositions from this period jazz idioms were often the point of handling the creative work. After many years of teaching (his pupils were among many other composers Alan Hovhaness and Burt Bacharach) he was able to create his own, sometimes idiomatic, sometimes universal and generally polystylistic language. Paraboly is very universal in its firmly emotional an still abstractive narration. And it’s quite different than Double concerto. Both are three-part constructions but it’s hard to find more common form related issues. Despite of many differences both works correspond well on opposite sides of one record – both are dramatic and highly expressive.

Bohuslav Martinů - Double Concerto, Parables

In this recording (Panton 8110 0022) Double Concerto has been performed by Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under direction of Stanislav Macura and Paraboly was played by Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in Prague conducted by Zdeněk Košler. Cover art featured painter František Muzika and his Requiem. Surrealistic connection was often mentioned in context of Paraboly and whole fantasy period of Martinů’s creative output. Painter František Muzika was one of Czech surrealists and author of scenography to 1938 setting of Julietta – one of Martinů’s great opera successes in Prague.

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