Martinů Voices, Lukáš Vasilek

Martinů: Madrigals

Catalogue Number: SU 4237-2
Published: 19th January 2018
Genre: Vocal - songs
Format: 1 CD
This album has received following awards:
  • Gramophone Editor's Choice (2018)
  • Diapason d'Or, Diapason Magazine (2018)
Bohuslav Martinů - Madrigals / Martinů Voices

Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) - Madrigals for soprano solo and mixed chorus, H 380; Primrose for female chorus, violin and piano, H 348; Czech Madrigals for mixed chorus, H 278; Three Sacred Songs for female chorus and violin, H 339; Four Songs about the Virgin Mary for mixed chorus, H 235; Five Czech Madrigals for mixed chorus, H 321

Martinů Voices, Lukáš Vasilek - conductor, Grażyna Biernot - soprano solo, Jakub Fišer - violin, Karel Košárek - piano

"You know I am not a 'chorus' composer … although I may have made a few good choral pieces, I always somewhat hesitate whether I should plunge into them." Notwithstanding his humility, Bohuslav Martinů truly loved choral singing. When composing, he mainly drew inspiration from traditional music. He kept returning to the texts from František Sušil's collection of Moravian folk songs, a copy of which he always kept with him during his travels. In addition to their rhythmicity and modality, he was fascinated by the archetypal themes they treated, their grace and conciseness, as well as the directness, devoid of "metaphysics and pathos", and, above all, the subject of love in a variety of forms - happy and ill-fated, unrequited, betrayed …
The present recording features the complete choral works Martinů intended (according to a number of sources) for chamber formations. Even though created over a great time span, between 1934 and 1959 (the composer only completed the Madrigals shortly before his death), all the pieces attest to the genius and sensitivity with which Martinů was able to handle the folk texts and furnish them with a new musical form - simple, spirited and majestic alike. Lukáš Vasilek and Martinů Voices have made the best of the autograph scores, getting as close as possible to the composer's intentions, in all the articulation and dynamic nuances. Following the highly acclaimed CD of the cantatas (Supraphon SU 4198-2), the current recording provides yet another insight into Bohuslav Martinů's fascinating universe.

Bohuslav Martinů's complete choral works, recorded in uncompromising quality.


“Performances are outstanding throughout. The voices are fresh and responsive, and Lukáš Vasilek once again proves that he is a true master of choral conducting. There is also an excellent, detailed booklet note by Vít Zouhar.”
Gramophone, March 2018

“This splendid set is performed with consistent stylistic identification and address. The chorus’ clarity does not compromise its warmth and the tempi are spirited and ensure full passion. With an excellent recording and a full multi-language booklet, and full texts, this is a splendid achievement.”
MusicWeb International, April 2018

“Chacune de ces vinght-neuf saynètes s'anime comme un petit théâtre, que le chef-metteur en scène illumine de l'intérieur. Lever de rideau sur la dernière fournée (H 380), recueil bigarré mené avec beaucoup d'entrain (Et tu t'imagines) pour mieux en reveler la saveur (De l'autre côté du Danube). Ce piquant, on le retrouve partout, jusque dans l'évocation de la Nativité du premier des Trois chants sacrés H 339. Lukáš Vasilek sait aussi jpuer sur l'articulation et l'étagement des plans pour ciseler le mot. Un travail d'orfèvre qui supplante la concurrence, Kühn compris (Supraphon).”
Diapason, May 2018

“Once past the surprises of rhythm and harmony in the first track, On the Banks of the Danube, the 16 madrigals can dip in inspiration — Martinů wasn't at all sure about publishing the 1939 group (H278) —but the pitch-perfect singing of Lukáš Vasilek's Martinů Voices is always companionable, and I imagine there must be a special pleasure for native Czech speakers. But this is a treasury for everyone.”
BBC Music Magazine, July 2018

Bohuslav Martinů
Madrigals, H. 380
On the Other Bank of the Danube 01:57
Lo, a Grove 02:38
Nothing Lasts in This World 03:19
So You Think 02:12
Bohuslav Martinů
Primrose, H. 348
The New Hat. Poco allegro 00:56
In Front of Our Yard. Allegro 01:12
The Complaint. Poco andante 01:55
A Nice Piece of Wood. Poco allegro 01:33
Noon. Allegro 00:51
Bohuslav Martinů
Czech Madrigals, H. 278
Lo, Off We Go Moderato 02:00
Let's go. Allegro moderato 01:35
Let Me Know, Lord. Andante moderato 03:29
Hey! We've Got Goods to Sell. Allegro (poco) 02:14
My Head Is Aching 02:23
We Love Each Other. Allegretto 01:52
How Do I feel. Lento 02:14
Once More. Allegro 01:43
Bohuslav Martinů
Three Sacred Songs, H. 339
The Nativity. Poco allegro 02:20
The Ascension of the Lord. Allegro moderato 04:24
The Path to Paradise. Allegro moderato 02:48
Bohuslav Martinů
Four Songs about the Virgin Mary, H. 235
The Annunciation. Allegro moderato 01:31
The Dream. Moderato, poco andante 02:03
The Virgin Mary's Breakfest 03:03
A Picture of the Virgin Mary 03:39
Bohuslav Martinů
Five Czech Madrigals, H. 321
The Message Delivered by the Dove. Allegro 01:18
My Aching Head. Poco andante 01:07
Geese Floating on Water. Allegro 00:59
Riding to See My Love. Allegretto 01:05
Spells and Calumnies. Allegro 00:46