The third volume in Hyperion's series of recordings of Bohuslav Martinu's complete works for violin and orchestra features no violin concertos, but instead both versions of the Suite Concertante for violin and orchestra plus the Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra. As before, the conductor is Christopher Hogwood, the orchestra is the Czech Philharmonic, and the violinist -- and, in this case, violist -- is Bohuslav Matousek. And as before, the performances are outstanding. As either a violinist or a violist, Matousek has a virtuoso technique plus a lean tone and a sweet vibrato, and he seems at all times wholly beneath the skin of the music. This is especially evident in the Mediation from the first version of the Suite Concertante, where the music's expressive intensity receives an interpretation of moving intimacy. English conductor Christopher Hogwood has an obvious affection for Martinu's music, and the composer's brilliant colors and buoyant rhythms are splendidly realized in his performances. Needless to say, the Czech Philharmonic's sparkling and polished accompaniment is entirely as one with the music of the illustrious Czech-born composer. Recorded in Dvorák Hall in Prague, Hyperion's sound is amazingly clear and immediate.
Martinu: The Complete Music for Violin and Orchestra, Vol. 3 Review
by James Leonard