Martinu maven, RIP

The leading Martinu scholar, František Popelka, has died at 88.

His father had been the composer’s close friend and he founded the Martinu museum at Policka.



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  • At a time when much lesser composers are undergoing revival, such as that eccentric Rued Langgaard, Martinu is still largely neglected. i personally cannot understand it.

  • Rest in Peace. Some day people will realise what an important composer Martinu was/is. His last symphonies have such breath: are so inspired. And there’s so much fine chamber music for all sorts of instruments. His music is a joy to play and a joy to listen to.

  • One of the joys to come my way during this period of lockdown is the opportunity to really get under the skin of Martinu’s music – so far the symphonies and string quartets

  • His operas – all 14 of them – also deserve to be better known. My personal favorite is the early (1937-8) Julietta, a surrealistic dream play that (along with his final opera The Greek Passion) is widely considered Martinů’s masterpiece.

    You can find a complete recording of this opera, conducted by Jaroslav Krombholc, on YouTube. But I would strongly recommend getting the original Supraphon CDs, as you really need the libretto to fully appreciate the brilliance of this amazing opera – unless, of course, you are a Czech-speaker.

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