Rapsodie Tcheque - Violin and Piano

Catalog: 50565018

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Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959), one of many European composers displaced by war, was born in Policka, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  He lived in Prague from 1906 to 1923 (with some time spent back home), in Paris and Aix-en-Provence from 1923 to 1941, and in the United States from 1941, mostly in New York City.  He became an American citizen in 1952 but lived in mostly in Europe from 1953 on, dying in hospital at Liestal, Switzerland of inoperable stomach cancer.

In spite of his poor record at the Prague Conservatory, from which he was expelled, Martinu became a good enough violinist to play in the National Theatre Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic.  He learned composition by listening to, observing, and memorizing a wide variety of music in Prague and in Paris.  Formal instruction in composition played a lesser role, although Albert Roussel was a valued advisor.  After moving to the United States, Martinu became active as a teacher at the Berkshire Music Center, the Mannes College of Music, Princeton University, the Curtis Institute, and the American Academy in Rome.  He began writing symphonies during his time in the USA.

Fritz Kreisler asked Martinu to write the Czech Rhapsody in 1945 and Martinu finished it the same year, with a piano version of the accompaniment.  This was four years after the accident in which Kreisler had been struck by a truck on a New York street, so it cannot be too surprising that Kreisler did not play the work, even though it bore Martinu's dedication to him, and that the intended orchestral accompaniment was never fleshed out.  Many years later, the Martinu Foundation commissioned Czech composer Jiri Teml to prepare an orchestration, which he completed in 2007.  


Publisher: Eschig
Composer/Author: Martinu, Bohuslav
Arranger/Editor: Straus, Ivan
Catalog Number: 50565018
Pages: 32