Martinu - The Epic of Gilgamesh | Supraphon SU42252

Martinu - The Epic of Gilgamesh

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Label: Supraphon

Cat No: SU42252

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 20th October 2017

Contents

Artists

Lucy Crowe (soprano)
Andrew Staples (tenor)
Derek Welton (baritone)
Jan Martinik (bass)
Simon Callow (narrator)
Prague Philharmonic Choir
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor

Manfred Honeck

Works

Martinu, Bohuslav

The Epic of Gilgamesh (English version)

Artists

Lucy Crowe (soprano)
Andrew Staples (tenor)
Derek Welton (baritone)
Jan Martinik (bass)
Simon Callow (narrator)
Prague Philharmonic Choir
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor

Manfred Honeck

About

The music Martinů created during the last decade of his life demonstrates his penchant for religious and spiritual texts. The idea of setting the epic written 4,500 years ago matured in the composer for 15 years. Although differing boldly from the avant-garde of the 1950s, it is an utterly modern piece, reflecting Martinů’s intense interest in Baroque music and the Notre Dame school. The oratorio, premiered on 23 January 1958 in Basel, was a tremendous success. Its performance in Prague in January 2017 by the Czech Philharmonic and a superb international team of soloists, conducted by Manfred Honeck, brought back to life the work’s English version, based on Reginald Campbell Thompson’s translation.

“I have realised that, notwithstanding the immense progress we have attained … the questions I have come across in the literature of a nation we refer to as primitive still accompany us. They are the questions of friendship, love and death. In the epic of Gilgamesh, we encounter a very acute and almost anxiously distressful yearning to find the answers, which we have been seeking in vain to the present day.”

Reviews

Taken from a live Prague concert in January this year, this recording is the first performed in its original English text, and the result is so uplifting that one wonders at the work’s neglect in the Anglophone world. ... the soloists — especially Lucy Crowe’s radiant soprano and Derek Welton’s youthful “Wagnerian” bass — are excellent, while Honeck’s fervent belief in the work is evident in the thrilling choral singing and orchestral playing he elicits from his epic forces. A discovery.  Hugh Canning (Album of the Week)
The Sunday Times 26 November 2017

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