All three of these compositions open the imaginative world of the young Martinů to the listener, providing a glimpse into his early works for voice and orchestra. Nipponari and Magic Nights were both inspired by exotic texts. The works of Japanese poets used in Nipponari are infused with a wistful, dreamy mood which is masterfully captured by Martinů's unusual instrumentation and subtle compositional technique. For his Impressionistic Magic Nights he instinctively chose texts about sorrow in a distant land far from home, unaware that this theme would play a fateful role in his own life. Mahler, incidentally, drew on the same collection of poems for his song cycle Das Lied von der Erde. The general nationalistic fervor of 1918 and the thought of national independence are reflected in the Czech Rhapsody - released here for the first time on CD - particularly in his use of the Hymn "Saint Wenceslas" (patron saint of the Czech nation), and the premiere of this work was a tremendous success forMartinů. It is difficult to imagine a more competent and sensitive interpretation of these works than you will find in these time-tested recordings by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and outstanding soloists.
Nipponari. Seven songs to japanese lyrical poetry for female voice and small orchestra, H. 68