Martinu: La Revue de Cuisine & Harpsichord Concerto

28. Mai 2012

Die Werke der vorliegenden CD, die allesamt zwischen 1927 und 1959 – dem Todesjahr von Bohuslav Martinů – entstanden, offenbaren dem Zuhörer auf beeindruckende Weise die außergewöhnliche Vielfalt seines Kammermusik-Repertoires. Ein wunderbares Beispiel für Martinůs jazzigen Stil ist La revue de cuisine, deren Einspielung auf einer erneuten Rekonstruktion der Originalpartitur beruht. In Les rondes erweckt der Komponist das Erbe seiner tschechischen Heimat – die Mährische Volksmusik – wieder zum Leben. Das Konzert für Cembalo und kleines Orchester besticht durch die gekonnte kompositorische Technik Martinůs, doch auch seine Kammermusik Nr. 1 (Les fêtes nocturnes), eines seiner letzten Werke, deutet weder das Ende seines Ideenreichtums noch seiner Liebe zu atmosphärischen Klangfarben an.

InhaltBohuslav Martinu (1890-1959)
Concerto for Harpsichord and small Orchestra H. 246, 1935
Chamber Music No. 1 (Les fêtes nocturnes) H. 376, 1959
Les rondes H. 200, 1930
La Revue de Cuisine: Ballet du Jazz H. 161, 1927
von Christopher Hogwood rekonstruierte Originalversion
MitwirkendeRobert Hill Cembalo
Klaus Simon Leitung, Klavier
ProduktionAndreas Bertram Tonmeister
Klaus Simon Booklettext
HörbeispieleHarpsichord Concerto
Musique de Chambre
Les Rondes
La Revue de la cuisine - Danse du Moulinet
La Revue de la cuisine - Fin du drame

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„Like Falla and Poulenc, Martinů helped reinvent the harpsichord as a perfect vehicle for neo-Classical expression. The Harpsichord Concerto is spiky, brittle, with the requisite driving rhythms. It clearly reflects the influence of Roussel but also of Stravinsky in its emotional coolness and its spareness of means. On the other hand, Chamber Music No. 1, written in the year of Martinů’s death (1959) and his last tribute to French neo-Classicism, has Impressionistic overtones as well, a certain dreaminess that recalls the late chamber pieces of Debussy, as well as Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro, which also features a prominent place for harp in its instrumentation. [...] The weird little libretto og The ballet Le revue de cuisine, subtitled Ballet du Jazz, recounts the troubled love life of Pot and Lid [...] Martinů’s jaunty score, exiled to the archives of the Paul Sacher Institute until fairly recently, deserves to be heard. Its jazz influences are pretty convincing; Martinů must have spent a lot of time soaking up the sounds in the clubs of Paris. The music is attractive and quite inventive in spots, reason enough to get this disc, though of course the enticements don’t stop there. Le revue de cuisine has been recorded before, but I doubt any more piquantly than in this bright-eyed performance from Simon and his Freiburg-based band, named, a little oddly, in honor of Gustav Holst. The Holst-Sinfonietta specializes in contemporary music and appears to have a natural affinity and sympathy for Martinů. Harpsichordist Robert Hill also deserves kudos for his alert playing in the Concerto. Naxos’s sound is as bright and lively as the performances. A definite winner.“ Lee Passarella


August 2012

„The performances here are first rate as is the vibrant recorded sound. The instrumentalists all receive due recognition in the notes and it would be churlish of me to single out any one of them — such is the excellence of the ensemble. Furthermore, Klaus Simon clearly has the measure of Martinu’s music.“

Classical CD Review

Juli 2012

„Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) is featured on this splendid new Naxos issue featuring chamber music composed throughout his career, mostly very brief pieces far removed from the grandeur and emotion of his six symphonies. Earliest is the delightful brief jazz ballet Le revue de cuisine from 1927…I couldn’t find any reference to actual performances of this music as a ballet; it must be charming to see as dancers dressed as a pot, a broom, a lid, a twirling stick, and a dishcloth. Les rondes dates from 1920, a series of dances inspired by Russian music, and Chamber Music No. 1, one of his final works, was written in 1959, a gentle work he called “Les fetes nocturnes.” […] This is a charming, small-scale work. Excellent performances throughout, with well-balanced, clear stereo sound.“ Robert Benson

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

12. Juli 2012

„In fact all four works are neglected gems. Thoroughly enjoyable, bursting with charm and dash, these are works that give us a Martinu not often encountered in recorded form. Maestros Hill, Simon and the Holst-Sinfonietta do an excellent job recreating the spirit of these works. It's the sort of brighten-your-day early-mid modern chamber music you will probably find yourself gravitating towards for many listens, if you are like me. Thoroughly recommended.“  Grego Applegate Edwards

Classical Lost and Found

Juli 2012

„Written between 1927 and 1959, the works for chamber orchestra by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) on this new Naxos release show four main influences. These are the folk music of his native country, the impressionism and neoclassicism of composers he associated with during his years in Paris (1923-1940), and finally jazz, which became the rage in Europe during the 1920s and 30s. [...] American harpsichordist Robert Hill plays the concerto to perfection, receiving splendid support from the Holst-Sinfonietta (H-S) of Freiburg, Germany under its founder and conductor Klaus Simon. The H-S musicians are each virtuosos in their own right, and give sparkling accounts of the other selections. Herr Simon wears two hats in Les rondes where he’s also the pianist. There are other recordings of these pieces, but superb performances and a bargain price put this disc at the top of the list. A co-production with Southwest German Radio, this was made in their Freiburg Schlossbergsaal studio. The recordings project suitably proportioned soundstages in a neutral acoustic. The instrumental timbre is pleasing with sparkling highs. […] The spacing and balance between the soloists seems well-judged for each of the different ensembles present.“ Bob McQuiston

Classics Today

Juli 2012

„All of this music has been recorded before, and quite well, but these performances rank with the best by and large. Conductor Klaus Simon paces each piece just about perfectly, and the members of the Holst-Sinfonietta lend their considerable virtuosity to Martinů’s consistently inventive writing. One attraction seriously worth considering is the fact that this disc contains the recently re-discovered complete version of the ballet La revue de cuisine. There’s not a lot more to add, only about six minutes in all, […] but it’s such a fun piece that every extra minute is worth having. […] This is a mostly terrific disc of totally terrific music.“ David Hurwitz