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Building a Library: Martinu: Symphony No 6

With Andrew McGregor. Including Building a Library: Martinu: Symphony No 6; Recordings featuring wind instruments, including Nielsen, Janacek, Mozart, Vivaldi; Disc of the Week.

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library: Jonathan Swain recommends a recording of Bohuslav Martinu's Symphony No. 6 from among available versions. Writer's block wasn't usually a problem for Martinu and once he'd got the bug for them, symphonies were no exception. But his sixth (and last), begun in 1951, took over two years to complete. Like much of his music, what Martinu called his 'Fantaisies symphoniques' is rarely heard in the concert hall. For some it's an elusive and often gloomy work, which never seems to get going. For others it reveals the heartrending hankerings of exile, Martinu's Czech homeland made tragically unattainable, first by war and then the Iron Curtain. And although Martinu confessed to a programme behind the music, he teasingly wouldn't tell anyone what it was.

Sarah Devonald rounds-up recent recordings featuring wind instruments, including music by Nielsen, Janacek, Mozart and Vivaldi.

Disc of the Week: Andrew makes a personal choice from among the latest outstanding releases.

3 hours, 12 minutes

Music Played

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Overtures from the British Isles, Vol. 2
ANSELL: Plymouth Hoe (a nautical overture)
BOWEN: Fantasy Overture
COATES, E: The Merrymakers - A Miniature Overture
FOULDS: Le Cabaret
LEIGH, W: Overture: Agincourt
MACKENZIE: Britannia – A Nautical Overture Op. 52
PARRY: Overture to an Unwritten Tragedy
QUILTER: A Children's Overture Op. 17
SMYTH: The Boatswain's Mate: Overture
WALTON: Portsmouth Point Overture
BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Rumon Gamba (conductor)

Nocturnal Variations
BERG: Vier Lieder Op. 2
BRITTEN: Evening, Morning, Night from Ronald Duncan's 'This Way to the Tomb'; At Night (from The Turn of the Screw); Um Mitternacht; At the mid hour of night
MAHLER: Wo die schonen Trompeten blasen (Des Knaben Wunderhorn); Um Mitternacht (Ruckert-Lieder); Urlicht (orig. in Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
SCHUBERT: Nachtstuck, D672 (Mayrhofer); Rosamunde, D797: Romance 'Der Vollmond Strahlt auf Bergeshoh'n'; Abendstern, D806; Die Sterne, D939 (Leitner); Im Abendrot, D799
Ruby Hughes (soprano), Joseph Middleton (piano)

Martin Butler: Dirty Beasts
BUTLER, M: Dirty Beasts; Down Hollow Winds; Fall; Lovesongs Waltzes; Preludes inegales; Rondes d'automne; Rumba Machine
Martin Butler (piano), Simon Callow (narrator), New London Chamber Ensemble, Navarra Quartet

Eight Setts of Lessons for the harpsichord, London 1754
JONES: Eight Setts of Lessons for the Harpsichord
Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord)
GLOSSA GCD921808 (2CD mid-price)

Meister: Il Giardino Del Piacere
MEISTER, J F: La Musica Terza; La Musica Settima; La Musica Ottava; La Musica Nona; La Musica Prima; La Musica Duodecima
Ensemble Diderot, Johannes Pramsohler (violin)

9.30am Building a Library

Jonathan Swain compares recordings of Martinu’s Symphony No. 6 and recommends a version. 

BAL Recommendations

Top recommendation:

MARTINU: Symphonies Nos. 1-6
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jiri Belohlavek (conductor)
ONYX ONYX4061 (3CD budget)

Other recordings:

Below is a shortlist of other recordings which Jonathan Swain also liked, although we can’t guarantee the availability of these discs.

Anthology of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Volume 5 - (1980-1990)
Including: MARTINU: Symphony No. 6 'Fantaises symphoniques' with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch
RCO LIVE RCO08005 (14CD mid-price)

Martinu - Symphonies
MARTINU: Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6 'Fantaises symphoniques'
Bamberger Symphoniker, Neeme Jarvi (conductor)

MARTINU: Symphony No. 6 'Fantaises symphoniques'
(plus works by Bizet, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev and Saint-Saëns)
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch (conductor)
EMI 7243-575477-2 (2 CD)

MARTINU: Symphonies Nos. 1-6
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Vaclav Neumann (conductor)
SUPRAPHON 1103822 (3CD mid-price)

MARTINU: Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6 'Fantaises symphoniques'; Memorial to Lidice, H. 296
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Karel Ancerl (conductor)
SUPRAPHON SU36942 (CD mid-price)

10.20am Hadyn Symphonies

Haydn: 107 Symphonies
HAYDN: Symphonies Nos. 1 - 104 (complete); Symphony “A” (Partita) in B flat major; Symphony “B” (Partita) in B flat major; Sinfonia concertante in B flat major
The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood (conductor), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Frans Bruggen (conductor), Academia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone (conductor)
DECCA 4789604 (36CD budget)

10.50am Wind Recordings

Sarah Devonald rounds-up recent recordings featuring wind instruments, including music by Nielsen, Janacek, Mozart and Vivaldi.

Martin Frost: Roots
BARTOK: Romanian folk dances for orchestra, Sz68 BB76; BINGEN: Ancient Suite (arr. Jonas Forsell); BRAHMS: Hungarian Dance No. 14 in D minor WoO1; CRUSELL: Introduction and Variations on a Swedish Air, Op.12; FALLA: Nana; FROST: Klezmer Dance No. 2; HILLBORG: Hymn of Echoes; Hyper Exit; Primal Blues; PELECIS: All in the Past; PIAZZOLLA: La muerte del angel; SCHUMANN: Stucke im Volkston, Op. 12 Nos. 1, 2 and 5; TELEMANN: Concerto in E minor TWV53:e1; TRADITIONAL: Jag vet en dejlig rosa; Psalm fran Alvdals-Asen; Rolig Pers Polska
Martin Frost (clarinet), Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, The Adolf Fredrik’s Girls Choir
SONY 88875065292 (CD)

Great Goossens
BACH, J S: Easter Oratorio, BWV249: Adagio (sinfonia); Cantata BWV147 'Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben': Jesu, bleibet meine Freude
CIMAROSA: Oboe Concerto in C major/C minor
GOOSSENS: Oboe Concerto in one movement Op. 45
HUGHES, H: Irish Song
MACMAHON: Oboe Concerto
SENAILLE: Cotillon; Aubade
STRAUSS, R: Oboe Concerto in D
TEMPLETON: Scherzo caprice
Leon Goossens (oboe), Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Malcolm Sargent (conductor), Temple Church Choir, George Thalben-Ball (organ), Philharmonia Orchestra, Walter Susskind (conductor), Gerald Moore (piano), BBC Midland Light Orchestra, Gilbert Vinter, Alceo Galliera (conductor)

Vivaldi: Recorder Concertos
VIVALDI: Flautino Concerto in C major, RV443; Concerto in A minor, RV 108; Concerto in F major RV442; Recorder Concerto in C major, RV444; Concerto in A minor RV 445; Concerto in D major, RV92; Recorder Concerto in C minor, RV441
Dan Laurin (recorder and musical direction), Jonas Nordberg (theorbo/baroque guitar), Anna Paradiso (harpsichord), Ensemble 1B1
BIS BIS2035 (Hybrid SACD mid-price)

Reicha: Wind Quintets
REICHA, A: Wind Quintet Op. 88 No. 3 in G major; Adagio for Cor Anglais & Wind Quartet in D minor; Wind Quintet Op. 100 No. 6 in B flat major
Thalia Ensemble

Carion – Nielsen’s footsteps
EMBORG: Quintetto Op. 74
NIELSEN: Wind Quintet Op. 43 (FS 100)
SCHULTZ, S: Une Amourette: Petit Serenade Pour Quintette A Vent
SENSTIUS: Kvintet Op. 16
Dora Seres (flute), Egils Upatnieks (oboe), Egils Sefers (clarinet), David M.A.P. Palmquist (horn), Niels Anders Vedsten Larsen (bassoon)

11.45am Disc of the Week

Schumann & Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos
MENDELSSOHN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor Op. 25; The Fair Melusine Overture Op. 32
SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 54
Ingrid Fliter (piano), Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Antonio Mendez
LINN CKD555 (Hybrid SACD)


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