A new film about Bohuslav Martinu

A new film about Bohuslav Martinu


norman lebrecht

January 09, 2022

Czech Television has screened a new hourlong movie about the tremendously neglected composer.

The music is fabulous and there’s some good archive stuff.

Unfortunately, they forgot to add a subtitles button. (Netflix, anyone?)

Watch here to improve your Czech.


  • How good! I adore him and his music!


  • John Porter says:

    Martinu is an absolutely terrific composer including chamber, symphonic, opera, and more. It is a shame that his work isn’t better understood.

  • REGERFAN says:

    Here’s the music used in the film, according to the end credits. The numbers are from the Halbreich catalog:

    Toccata 311
    Piece for Violin and Piano 13
    Nipponari 68
    Half Time 142
    (Instrumental by Manuel Favre)
    Spalicek/Spalick suite 214/214A/214B
    (Goodbye – Chet Baker)
    Julietta/Julietta Suite 253/253B
    Double Concerto 271
    Field Mass 279
    3rd symphony 299
    Sinfonia Giocosa 282
    Concerto Grosso 263
    Memorial to Lidice 296
    Spalicek 214
    5th Symphony 310
    Arabeskes 201
    Epic of Gilgamesh 351
    Pieces for Violin and Piano 190
    Rhapsody-Concerto 337

  • Aged Listener says:

    My introduction to Martinu’s music occurred roughly 65 years ago, when I was still at university. Leonard Rose and a pianist whose name I cannot now remember came to town and gave a recital that included Martinu’s recently published 3rd cello sonata. To Mr. Rose’s evident delight, the audience loved it and applauded lustily.

    Since then, I do not recall ever having had the opportunity to hear a single live performance of Martinu’s music. Fortunately, he has been very well served on recordings, and it was through them that I got to know and love much of the rest of it. His chamber music in particular has been one of the great joys and consolations of my old age.

  • ...also Novak and Fibich! says:

    I bought my first Martinu CD partly in jest because “I love Dvorak and Smetana so all Czech composers must be geniuses…” Well, the music is no joke! He is indeed another Czech genius.

    Incidentally… Supraphon have the coolest logo in classical music. I need a T shirt, preferably white on black or grey on grey!

  • KANANPOIKA says:

    Consumate String Writing

    While in school, I performed Martinu’s 2nd Cello Sonata, which features string
    writing of the highest level. It’s as if the left hand is fitting into a very familiar and much-loved glove. A Czech
    colleague of mine at the time conveyed the opinion that Martinu understood string playing better than ANY composer.
    I’ve never had any reason to doubt this.

    Following my student days, after 38 seasons in a professional orchestra, I (unfortunately) played Martinu on only two occasions: both times the lovely Rhapsody Concerto for viola and orchestra.

  • David Schneider says:

    Burt Bacharach studied composition with Martinu while at student at Mannes in the 1950s.

    • Don Ciccio says:

      Yes, and he also studied with Darius Milhaud and with Henry Cowell. But Bacharach said that Martinu was the biggest influence.

  • Karl says:

    I have only heard his music once in a concert hall. And that was 30 years ago when the Czech Philharmonic toured the US. It’s too bad.