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Name of Work

Martinů, Bohuslav (1890-1959)
Nonet for winds and strings

Movements:
Poco allegro
Andante
Allegretto

Performances:


Mar 24, 1996



Louise Dixon, Flute
Michael Henoch, Oboe
Larry Combs, Clarinet
William Buchman, Bassoon
Gail Williams, Horn
Stefan Hersh, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Jerry Grossman, Cello
Bradley Opland, Double bass


Mar 25, 1996



Louise Dixon, Flute
Michael Henoch, Oboe
Larry Combs, Clarinet
William Buchman, Bassoon
Gail Williams, Horn
Stefan Hersh, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Jerry Grossman, Cello
Bradley Opland, Double bass

MARTINU - Nonet for winds and strings

Composed in 1959

Raised in a small Bohemian village, Martinu worked as a schoolteacher, and as a violinist in the Prague Philharmonic, before emigrating to Paris in 1923 and devoting himself to composition full-time. He forged a considerable reputation, with several works premiered by the International Society for Contemporary Music, but he fled his adopted city in 1940, shortly before the Nazi occupation, and took refuge in the United States, where his music was championed by Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony.

After World War II, Martinu found American life uncongenial and returned to Europe, though not to Czechoslovakia, because he felt unsympathetic toward its new Communist regime. He found temporary homes in France, Italy, and finally Switzerland.

A biographer, Brian Large, has described Martinu as "a curiously elusive artist," pointing out that he cannot be tied firmly to any "school" or "trend" or "method" of 20th-century music, and that his personal style is hard to characterize. One element of that style, however, remained fairly constant: the inspiration he drew from Bohemian folk music. Throughout a lifetime of wandering, that connection held. In the works of the last decade of his life, it is apparent in a group of cantatas that use folk-style poetry, and it can also be heard in the themes of his last chamber composition, the Nonet for Winds and Strings.

A brief and upbeat piece for wind quintet, string trio, and double-bass, the Nonet opens with a lively movement owing much to Bohemian dance tunes. The central movement, more ruminative, features a plaintive cello theme; dance music, in several different rhythmic patterns, returns during the finale.

Program Notes by Andrea Lamoreaux

Performed March 24 and 25, 1996



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