No matter how much one may revere Josef Suk's masterful stereo recordings of Martinu's violin concertos, one must admit that with the release of this coupling of the two works by Bohuslav Matousek, those performances have found a worthy digital rival. Like Suk, Matousek has a lean but supple tone, a strong but sinuous line, and a keen sense of rhythm. And like Suk, Matousek grasps Martinu's individualistic blend of emotional intensity and rhythmic dexterity. But Matousek goes even deeper into Martinu's music than Suk, making his colors shine more brightly and his lines sound more lyrical than the older violinist. Plus, Matousek has the support not only of the Czech Philharmonic as Suk did, but also of Christopher Hogwood, who turns out to be a much more imaginative and supportive accompanist than Suk's Vaclav Neumann. Together, Matousek and Hogwood create passionately stormy performances of the Czech modernist master's two concertos that deserve to be heard by anyone who enjoys twentieth century music. Hyperion's sound is full and rich, if perhaps a bit too recessed.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Violin Concerto No. 1, H. 232bis|
|Violin Concerto No. 2, H. 293|