Martinu, Janacek, Roussel, Grieg

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Grieg,Janacek,Martinu,Roussel
LABELS: IMP
WORKS: Sextet for String Orchestra; Suite for String Orchestra; Sinfonietta for String Orchestra; Holberg Suite
PERFORMER: The Zagreb Soloists
CATALOGUE NO: PCD 1004 DDD
Martinu’s Sextet is given a fine, committed performance by the Zagreb Soloists, equally eloquent in Janacek’s youthful Suite for String Orchestra – though his personality was still evolving, the piece’s six movements are well crafted and full of charm. Roussel’s Sinfonietta for String Orchestra Op. 52 (1934) gets a robustly sinewy treatment.

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This robustness of approach also throws an unaccustomed light on Grieg’s Holberg Suite. One has grown so used to hearing these pieces played for their nostalgic emotional content that the Zagreb Soloists sound as if they are playing a different piece. However, it is done with such drive and clarity that one comes away convinced. The recording was made in the Church of St Francis of Xavier, Zagreb, and has just the right mixture of clarity and atmosphere. John White