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Classical - Released January 19, 2018 | Supraphon a.s.

These works are not well known outside of Czech-speaking lands, but the lyrical choral song, madrigalian or otherwise, fascinated Bohuslav Martinu for some years: the works here date from between 1934 and 1959, shortly before his death. Three of the sets are designated as madrigals, a form that would have been in the air during the composer's years in France. Perfectly balancing external influences and Czech melodic content, they are absolutely characteristic of the composer. The slow pieces contain some of Martinu's most attractive melodies (sample the third track, from the 1959 set of Madrigals for soprano solo and mixed chorus a cappella). The non-madrigal works on the album incline further in the direction of Czech folk music, even though two are sacred in content. The forces of the Three Sacred Songs are the highly unusual female chorus and violin, and these have an especially haunting effect. The Martinu Voices are a powerful, virtuoso choir of professional singers, and their sound in itself is often impressive, but the madrigalian and French aspect of the music would sometimes seem to call for a lighter touch. This is nonetheless an attractive recording of some almost unknown music, and a must for Martinu lovers.