Bohuslav Martinu: Choral Works

Bohuslav Martinu: Choral Works

by Netherlands Chamber Choir


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Bohuslav Martinu: Choral Works

Hindemith advocated going back to Bach. But Martinu did Hindemith one better: he advocated going back to Gesualdo. While it's true that Martinu turned out concerti grossi in the 1930s, he also turned out several collections of madrigals at different points in his career, two of which appear here on the wonderful disc by the Netherlands Chamber Choir under the direction of Stephen Layton. The eight Czech madrigals of 1939 tell the story of a hopeless love affair in the achingly expressive chromatic harmonic language of the Renaissance master. The "Four Madrigals for Five Voices" from 1959 take poems on both sacred and secular themes for works as expressively ardent but more harmonically austere than the earlier set. Not content with reviving the counterpoint of the Renaissance, Martinu went back to the parallel voices and homophony of the Middle Ages for his 1934 setting of "Four Songs of Mary," and even further back to the robust rhythms and direct tunes of folk music for his 1957 settings of "Five Brigand Songs for male chorus." And, finally, Martinu achieves a remarkable fusion of Czech folk tunes, modernist cluster harmonies and pre-historic humming choruses in his "Romance of the Dandelions for chorus and soprano" from 1957. Performed with a rich tone, an impeccable technique, and a muscular sense of rhythm by the Dutch choir and directed with strength, subtlety, and obvious affection by the English conductor, Martinu's a cappella choral music sounds appealing -- even enticing -- on this beautifully produced 2003 Globe disc.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/09/2006
Label: Globe
UPC: 8711525520806
catalogNumber: 5208
Rank: 259546


  1. Czech Madrigals (8) for chorus, H. 278
  2. Marian Songs (4) for chorus, H. 235
  3. Madrigals (4) for chorus, H. 380
  4. Zbojnické písne (Brigand Songs) (10) for male chorus, H. 361: Cie sú to ovecky
  5. Zbojnické písne (Brigand Songs) (10) for male chorus, H. 361: Pijú chlapci
  6. Zbojnické písne (Brigand Songs) (10) for male chorus, H. 361: Na horách
  7. Zbojnické písne (Brigand Songs) (10) for male chorus, H. 361: Ej, Janík
  8. Zbojnické písne (Brigand Songs) (10) for male chorus, H. 361: U tej Bílej hory
  9. Romance z pampelisek (Romance of the Dandelions), chamber cantata for soprano & double chorus, H. 364

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