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