Hyperion Records

Sonata for cello and piano No 2

'Martinů: Cello Sonatas' (CDH55185)
Martinů: Cello Sonatas
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55185  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Allegro
Track 4 on CDH55185 [6'41] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Largo
Track 5 on CDH55185 [7'26] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Allegro commodo
Track 6 on CDH55185 [5'00] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Sonata for cello and piano No 2
Like Dvorák before him, Martinu found friends of Czech ancestry among his new American acquaintances. One of the these was Frank Rybka. Rybka had studied music with Janácek in Brno before going to America in 1912. He had taught in Pittsburgh but was at this time living in Jamaica, Long Island. Through his agency the Martinus found a flat there, and the two families became firm friends. American neighbours who found the composer’s habit of wandering the streets at night peculiar were warned not to stop and talk to him; it was at such times that Martinu gave birth to his ideas.

The Sonata for cello and piano No 2 is dedicated to Frank Rybka, and its character is far removed from that of No 1. Milos Safranék, Martinu’s first biographer, pointed out that it already belonged to the composer’s so-called ‘American period’. By this he no doubt meant that at this time Martinu recognized the need to win over his new public with music that posed fewer stylistic problems and did not strike too deeply into their complex personal psyches; not that this sonata is superficial – it poses many technical problems, particularly of rhythm – merely that its three movements occupy a sunnier, more equable landscape than that of No 1. It is quite believable that it held its own in a programme with Brahms’s Sonata in E minor at its premiere on 27 March 1942 when it was played by Lucien Laporte and Elly Bontempo.

from notes by Kenneth Dommett © 1989

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