Josef Špaček, Miroslav Sekera, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Martinů: Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, Violin Sonata No. 3, Five Short Pieces
Catalogue Number: SU 4330-2
Published: 8th September 2023
Format: 1 CD
Josef Špaček – violin, Miroslav Sekera – piano, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Petr Popelka
Bohuslav Martinů was a violinist himself, yet the piano colour in many of his symphonic scores is his actual signature. The two instruments are assigned solo roles in the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (1953), commissioned by Benno and Sylvia Rabinof, who duly premiered it in May 1954. Written concurrently with Symphony No. 6 (Fantaisies symphoniques), the remarkable work is hardly ever performed nowadays. Different is the case of Violin Sonata No. 3 (1944), created in the USA too, which has long been a staple of violinists’ repertoires worldwide. Amid the atmosphere of the imminent end of WWII and feeling homesick, Martinů conceived a monument whose duration is that of a symphony, a work teeming with contrastive drama and lyricism, and featuring a Dvořák-like nostalgia, evoking his Czech roots. In comparison with the two “American” works, the Cinq pièces brèves (1930), dating from Martinů’s Paris period, contain far rougher harmonies and piquancy, attesting to a penchant for the Charleston, as well as a propensity to the contrapuntal style. On their album, the globally renowned artists Josef Špaček and Miroslav Sekera present Martinů as an astute creator of chamber music and concertos, a composer both international and Czech, widely known and still being discovered alike.
Martinů’s music for violin and piano – a universe of intriguing contrasts