Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'An eagle in a high eyrie'

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959), whose energetic and incandescent music sounds like no other's. The Martinů anniversary is passing unnoticed in most of the music world. Norman Lebrecht notices, and offers high praise to this woefully underrated contemporary of Stravinsky, Bartók and Schoenberg:

Richmonders of a certain age remember Martinů, thanks to the late Frantisek Smetana, who worked with the composer and continued to perform and promote his compositions when most other musicians were overlooking them.

The Guardian's Anthony Bateman revisits the composer, recommends some of his best works, and surveys British performances marking the anniversary: