Bohuslav Martinu

Sonatina for clarinet & piano, H. 356

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    Martinu maintained his optimistic musical spirit despite his double exile. As a Czech composer living in Paris he found himself cut off from his homeland when Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938, then had to flee Europe itself when Germany invaded France. Finally, living in the United States, he was again cut off from home when his homeland fell to a Soviet-dominated puppet-regime takeover in 1948. His style contains a neat blend of Dvorák's good humor and melodic gift, Janácek's terseness and fast musical action, and Stravinsky's neo-classicism. This blend is well represented in this charming and extroverted ten-minute piece.

    The first movement is twice as long as either of the two others, but since it is divided into two clearly marked sections, the effect is a suite-like structure. The first movement is a test of rhythmic coordination, with complex cross rhythms between the different players' parts. The second movement uses the entire compass of the clarinet in a flowing melody. The third movement features dazzling trills and other showy techniques. In a tricky effect to bring off, Martinu keeps the clarinet part an eighth note ahead of the piano part in the counterpoint that dominates the music.


    1. Moderato
    2. Andante
    3. Poco allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Mark / Mark Custom Recording 51606 MCD
    2014 Paladino Music PMR 0044
    2014 Chandos CHAN 10804
    2014 Bongiovanni GB 5181
    2010 Fuga Libera 558
    2005 Harmonia Mundi 911853
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 585639
    2003 Arts Music 47586
    2001 Boston Records 1023
    1999 ATMA Classique 22187
    1998 Summit Records 214
    1996 Caprice Records 21551
    1994 Crystal Records Dist. 735
    1993 Centaur Records 2165
    Studio Matous 00072131