Martinu, Lukas, Stamitz

COMPOSERS: Lukas,Martinu,Stamitz
LABELS: Arco Diva
ALBUM TITLE: Martinu, Lukas, Stamitz
WORKS: Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra
PERFORMER: Jitka Hosprová ((viola); Prague CO
CATALOGUE NO: UP 0073-2 131
A mood of nostalgia and ineffable

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sadness envelops Martin?’s

Rhapsody-Concerto, a work written

in the early 1950s during a period

when the composer, then living in

New York, came to realise that the

deteriorating political situation

in Czechoslovakia meant he

would never return to his beloved

homeland. Delivering an expansive

account of the solo part, violist Jitka

Hosprová certainly captures the

essence of Martin?’s writing, but

also ensures that its few sections of

animated material are projected with

a welcome degree of feistiness.

The Prague Chamber Orchestra

proves to be an admirable and

responsive accompanist, making

light work of Martin?’s metrical

intricacies and the frequent changes

of tempo and mood in the Viola

Concerto by Zden?k Luká?, a

contemporary Czech composer

whose highly accessible tonal idiom

is strongly influenced by folk music.

Frustratingly the booklet notes

offer no information as to when this

Concerto was written, but confirm

Luká? as a strongly independent

figure whose music deserves much

wider dissemination.

The one comparative

disappointment in this warmly

recorded disc is the Carl Stamitz

Concerto. True, Hosprová relishes

the opportunity to show off her

brilliant scale and arpeggio work

in the Finale, but her full-frontal

approach, with its hard-hitting

double stops and powerful vibrato,

seems ill-suited to a work that is

essentially charming and elegant in

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expression. Erik Levi