Sunlight on the Marble, Or Viva Martinů!

A painting of Policka, from a 1910 postcard. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Poli%C4%8Dka_V%C4%9B%C5%BE.jpgThe wonderful piano music of Martinů

The tourist brochure in Policka, Moravia (Bohuslav Martinů’s home town), is called “Sunlight on the Marble.” The marble being, the marble on Martinů’s tombstone.

This phrase is peculiarly apt for describing the markedly sunny (yet substantial) style of Martinů.

I’m invested in Martinu: I had a Martinů fan club in the early 80s and met my wife through Martinů.

Martinů is that oddest of phenomena: A gallic-influenced, oftentimes neoclassicist whose music radiates love and warmth to an unusual degree. Martinů’s style is informed by a kind of vigorous gentleness, and so many of Martinů’s scores rise from opacity to transluscence in an exhilerating way. I suggest putting aside the Prokofiev and Bartok piano concertos sometime, and picking up the five Martinů piano concertos, as well as the left-hand divertimento.

You’re gonna thank me, and since I live in Chicago, I’m gonna need ya to make it BLEEPIN’ golden for me.

Recommended:

Martinu: Piano Concertos Nos. 2, 3 & 4 by Firkusny, Pesek, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Legendary Czech pianist Rudolf Firkusny performs three piano concertos by Martinu, with the Czech Philharmonic under Libor Pesek. In addition, several piano works are included, such as Etudes and Polkas. A wonderful abum!

Martinu: Piano Concertos

Martinu: Piano Concertos Supraphon

A complete recording of the five Martinu piano concertos plus the Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, performed by pianist Emil Leichner, with the Orchestr Ceská Filharmonie, conducted by Jirí Belohlávek.

Piano Concertos for the Left Hand

Piano Concertos for the Left Hand by Martinu, Prokofiev, Nowka

Siegfried Rapp performs piano concertos for the left hand by Martinu, Prokofiev and Nowka with two different orchestras. Out of print, but available on used on Amazon.