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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959)
Concertino for Piano Trio and String Orchestra (1933) [19.48]
Piano Trio No. 1 Cinq Pièces Brèves (1930) [13.00]
Piano Trio No. 2 (1950) [15.16]
Duo No. 2 for violin and cello (1958) [8.52]
Trio Tulsa (Derry Deane, violin; Diane Bucchianeri, cello; Anna Norberg, piano)
Czech National SO/Paul Freeman
rec. 20 Mar 1997, Prague Domovina (Concertino), 14-15 Dec 1997, LSU Recital Hall, School of Music, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. USA. DDD
CENTAUR CRC 2415 [57.29]

Paul Sacher was associated with the Concertino and the Duo having premiered the former in 1936 with his Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Trio Hongrois. It was at his home that Martinů wrote the duo to a commission by Swiss musicologist, Ernst Mohr.

The Trio Concertino darts and rushes convulsively in the outer movements. Its second movement has a most surprising, for Martinů, cosseted lyrical idea which does not sound at all nationalistic unlike the influences in the second violin sonata of one year previously. The moderato theme sounds like a wispy survivor from La Valse. The adagio digs hoarsely and deeply into a landscape that is expressionistic and quite unfamiliar. This piece explores avenues which eventually he decided not to pursue although there are echoes of these moods in the late Estampes for orchestra. The two middle movements typify these experiments.

Of the two Piano Trios the First is rife with Stravinskian activity bumping up against Bachian arioso. Some of this is pretty dry though always dynamically interesting as in the player-piano style wildness of the allegro con brio (tr.9) which flashes along at high velocity. The Second Trio has those slow stabbing yearning string cries and piano-whisper ostinati that distinguish the Sinfonietta La Jolla and the Canzoni of the Toccata e Due Canzoni; classic mature Martinů. The Duo No. 2 was written the year before his death and not performed until after. It was a work of activity, rhythmic interest, not at all brittle and would pair well with Kodaly's Duo. Given that only two instruments are involved it fluently sustains the illusion of a much greater ensemble. The sense of line and of ineluctable flow is superbly carried off and the brevity of the movements shows Martinů again making well calculated judgements about succinct expression. Martinu shows himself a successor to Dvořák's American Quartet in the Poco allegro.

There is some inventive and fantastically resourceful playing from Trio Tulsa on this disc. They are also well recorded. Take the Poco allegro of the Duo as an example.

Rob Barnett



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