Journal “Czech Music” Volume 16 No. 2 (Abstract)
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Martinů’s Search for the Meaning of Life and for Truth
by Patrick Lambert
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 16, No.2 (1990), pp. 8 – 17]
In his search for ‘the meaning of life and for truth’, religious themes, though not of a liturgical nature, can be discerned throughout Martinů’s output. There are, however, self-acknowledged paradoxes, contradictions and confusions in his philosophical musings and compositions. In a period of spiritual and moral crisis following World War II, Martinů denied that music in itself could fashion a better world. But the 1950s saw a return to religious themes, tackling fundamental problems of human existence, reflected in late operatic (The Greek Passion), orchestral (The Frescoes of Piera della Francesca) and choral (The Prophecy of Isaiah) works.
Martinů and London: New Light on the Sonata for Two Violins and Piano
by Graham Melville-Mason
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 16, No.2 (1990), pp. 18 – 29]
Connections with Great Britain during Martinů’s lifetime were limited. In 1938 he visited London twice, acting as escort for Kaprávolá, who had been invited to conduct her Sinfonietta with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Prior to this, Martinů had been asked to compose a work for two violins and piano by members of the London-based Sonata Players, for whom he wrote a Sonata, completed in 1933 and first performed by them in London in February 1934. Accurate dating of this performance, the background to its composition, and the critical responses, were subsequently revealed in the discovery in 1988 of a cache of letters from the composer, and reviews of the work and performance
Some Reflections on how Dvořák’s Music was First Received Abroad
by John Clapham
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 16, No.2 (1990), pp. 30 – 38]
The circumstances surrounding early performances of Dvořák works outside his own country were complex and confusing. There were considerable variations in the level of their acceptance abroad. Examination of over two thousand performances of his compositions from the 1870s to the end of the nineteenth century reveal much greater popularity in Great Britain and the United States than, for example, in Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries. This was particularly the case with choral works such as the The Spectre’s Bride and St. Ludmila.
Dvořák’s Rusalka on Film and Video
by Jiří Pilka
Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 16, No.2 (1990), pp. 39-4
The character of the heroine Rusalka in the Jaroslav Kvapil libretto used by Dvořák is not that of the cruel spirit found in other versions of the story, but of a more gentle being. The outward garb of the folk tale embodies various levels of meaning, not least the potentially fatal juxtaposition of man and nature. Through the twentieth century Rusalka gained popularity in opera houses at home and abroad. A number of post-war Czech film versions preceded the influential 1977 film of Peter Weigl, and the David Pountney production of 1983 for English National Opera. Both probe the psychological and moral layers hidden below the surface of the fairy tale, and appear fully responsive to the composer’s own intentions.