Martinu: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

Nobody knows the symphonies of Bohuslav Martinu — heck, nobody knows Bohuslav Martinu — but the music of this Czech expatriate, who died in 1959, is well worth a listen. Like that of his countryman Leos Janécek, it’s a bit odd. Martinu’s sense of tonality and rhythm is totally unlike that of the Austro- Germans. The music zigs and zags in unexpected, electrifying ways, and listening to a Martinu piece is an adventure. Of these two symphonies, Martinu: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2, both composed in the United States, the dramatic First is the more impressive, while the bustling Second takes a little longer to cotton to. Flor and his Berlin Symphony — the orchestra of East Berlin, not to be confused with the Berlin Philharmonic — give both works accomplished, convincing readings. A-

Martinu: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2
  • Music