Jiří Bělohlávek (1946–2017) was an important worldwide
ambassador of Bohuslav Martinů’s music. For the Supraphon label alone he
recorded nearly forty of Martinů’s symphonic compositions, concertos, and
stage works, and many of these were world premiere recordings.
The premiere recording of the opera-pastoral What Men Live
By was made from three concert performances in December 2014 (the
production earned a nomination for the International Opera Award). Martinů
composed it to his own libretto in America at the turn of 1951–52, and he had
a clear idea concerning its performance: “It must not be played
‘pathetically’, but joyfully. … The text strongly tempts one to come up
with a very serious, ‘deep’ conception, but that is not what I had in mind.
To me, it is a rather joyful work, and what the listener must feel is not some
sort of religious moral (lesson), but instead joy. The moral is in fact in
Recording of the Symphony No. 1 that accompanies
What Men Live By on the album that will be released on
19th October 2018 was made in January 2016, and it joins the
earlier releases of Symphonies Nos. 3–6 (SU3631–2, SU4007–2). It was part
of a planned but unfortunately unfinished complete set of Martinů’s late
orchestral works. Anyway this recording shall endure as living proof of what was
a very special constellation of humanity and artistry.
Discover more about this extraordinary world premiere recording in video
trailer with Jiří Bělohlávek.