Bohuslav Martinu seems to polarize even lovers of contemporary music. While there are those who dismiss his output as superficial, there are equally vociferous societies who maintain blogs on the internet that make Martinu an icon. Where he actually falls is probably somewhere in the middle, though this lovely album of his chamber music hopefully will convince some doubters of his worth.
Anyone living in the Southern California area has grown to know Martinu through the auspices of KUSC music guru Jim Svejda whose nightly broadcast Music Shelf opens with the third movement (Allegretto poco moderato) of the Martinu Piano Quartet No. 1 - that splendid piano solo that is gradually joined b the pulsating and quirky strings. It is a 'popular favorite' among Svejda's devotees and garners more questions to the radio station staff than any other question posed! The Piano Quartet is here performed by Rainer Moog (piano), Daniel Adni, Young-Chang Cho and Isabelle van Keulen and captures all the playful business of this charming work.
The other works on this well-recorded album include the Quartet for oboe, violin, cello & piano with Charmian Gadd, Joel Marangella, Alexander Ivashkin, Kathryn Selby, the lyrically dreamy Sonata for viola & piano with Daniel Adni, viola and once again Rainer Moog, piano. The final offering is one of the folk song inspired Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello with Charmian Gadd, Solomia Soroka, Rainer Moog, Young-Chang Cho, Theodore Kuchar.
For an introduction to the music of this strong composer this fine CD recorded at the 1994 Australian Festival of Chamber Music is a fine starting point. And then on to the symphonies... Recommended. Grady Harp, February 06