ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
Bohuslav Martinü


BOHUSLAV MARTINU - SUITE FROM THE OPERA JULIETTE - THREE FRAGMENTS FROM JULIETTE - MAGDALENA KOZENA (Soprano) - STEVE DAVISLIM (Tenor) - SIR CHARLES MACKERRAS (Conductor) - CZECH PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - Supraphon SU3994

To my knowledge, there is only one recording of the full opera Juliette on the market, performed in Czech and recorded about 15 years ago. Bohuslav Martinü tried many times throughout his life to have this demanding 3 hour long opera performed more often, but it seems the demands were too high. Therefore he eventually condensed it to these Three Fragments, in the original French language based on a play by Georges Neveux titled 'La Clé des Songes (The Key to Dreams). But like many scores of his music, it got lost or mislaid when he emigrated to America. This recording is based on the autograph full score that was discovered in 2007.

In typical Bohuslav Martinü form, it is full of great and evocative music. He himself considered it one of his best works. The plot revolves around the fine line between dreams and reality, and must have given the composer many new avenues to explore.

The Supraphon label has been hard at work this year releasing many recordings to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this composer's death in 1959, and this one is definitely one of the highlights of these efforts, with everyone performing like they believe in the music, all supported by an awesome recording.

Jean-Yves Duperron