Bohuslav Martinu

Duo for violin & cello No. 2 in D major, H. 371

    Description by James Leonard

    The extremely prolific Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu rarely stopped writing music. Even after he had been diagnosed with cancer in 1958, he continued to compose copiously, completing his last opera The Greek Passion and his oratorio The Prophecy of Isaiah in the year before his death. But despite these major works and his increasing ill health, Martinu found time to compose numerous chamber works, including his second Duo for Violin and Cello (H. 371). Written in four days between June 28 and July 1, 1958, the Duo in D major gives no sign that its composer was a dying man with only 13 months to live. Like all of Martinu's music, the Duo is essentially lyrical with long, gorgeous melodies that defy gravity as well as the bar line and, like most of Martinu's music, the Duo has lightly sprung rhythms in its outer movements that draw as much on Renaissance materialists as on modernist composers. But in its central Adagio, Martinu's melodies seem particularly poignant and his harmonies seem especially affecting, almost as if even the resolutely sanguine Martinu was musically acknowledging his own mortality.


    1. Allegretto
    2. Adagio
    3. Poco allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Supraphon SU 42292
    2011 Supraphon SU 40752
    2007 Bayer Records 100358
    2006 Erato / Virgin Classics 0946332626
    2006 ASV / Resonance 3075
    2000 Centaur Records 2415
    2000 Panton Records 710527
    1999 Cedille Records 47
    1999 ASV 6230
    Chandos 10551