Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bohuslav Martinů – Rhapsody-Concerto; Piano Sonata

   In autumn of one’s life the lack of inspiration may be cause of repeating some ideas and even autoplagiarism. Some composers in their last years finishing creative attempts and retire of active musical life. But sometimes the late creative period means the best quality of freely and innovative works. For Bohuslav Martinů, this was the time for more open and creative viewing of many achievements from various moments of the European tradition and his own history. His, so called „fantasia period” was the time for loosing neoclassical formal bounds and constructing his works in more natural way. In his late years, he composed a great quantity of works which in emotional shape were precisely following spiritual and intellectual temperature of its times.
   It’s important to keep in mind Martinů was already well known composer when he wrote two major works of his last years – Rhapsody-Concerto and Piano Sonata. The Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra has been composed in 1952 – the last year of composer’s residency in United States. This is not typical set of concerto cycle. After five years of following the neoclassic formulas, Martinů submitted work in form of the double-part construction with lyric Moderato and more concertante in style second part Molto adagio ended in elegiac mood. It was sudden turn out of both neoclassic stylistics and traditional concerto form. Viola’s parts are warmth and fervour – lyric than firm. And whole concerto is about to be the reverse of baroque form, with its sequence of slow and fast movements ended by slow episode. Also Sonata for piano is one of most popular works by Martinů. The work has been composed for Rudolf Serkin in 1954 when after return from America composer and his wife were staying in Nice, France.

Martinů – Viola Rhapsody-Concerto, Piano Sonata (1979)

   Sonata for piano is more radical in expression, harmonics and in musical style than Rhapsody-Concerto. Based on dynamic and texture contrasts Sonata can be seen as a some kind of a test for technical and musical maturity. In Panton five recording series of Bohuslav Martinů legacy under the head ŽIVOT, DÍLO, MYŠLENKY, the performer of Sonata is pianist František Malý. On the same record (Panton 8110 0024) in Rhapsody-Concerto one can hear viola player Lubomír Malý and Prague Symphony Orchestra conducted by Václav Smetáček. This recording was also published on the monographic album of viola player Lubomír Malý. The record cover exposes the portrait of Paganini painted by František Tichý.

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