Of all the pieces in this CD the Three Madrigals by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů is perhaps the most well-known. We fell in love with it as soon as we opened the score. Martinů’s writing is filled with intricate passages that are time consuming but fulfilling to master. This work was written for two individuals with a long and close relationship, in this case siblings (Martinů’s friends Joseph and Lilian Fuchs), and as such is a fitting work to conclude our CD. Performing this piece showcases the conversation, love, partnership and energy that this genre gives to us both as musicians and as partners in life.
As a violin prodigy Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů was very familiar with the capabilities of the violin and viola. His interest, however, was always focused on composition. While recuperating after a near-fatal accident in the USA in 1947, Martinů focused on composing chamber music, beginning with the Three Madrigals. They were inspired by a performance of the Mozart Duos by his friends Joseph and Lilian Fuchs, the brother and sister duo to whom Martinů dedicated the Madrigals.
The name suggests the further influence of English madrigals, which Martinů had first encountered in the 1920s and which were an enduring love of his. The sprung rhythms and free mix of polyphony and chordal writing that are so characteristic of Martinů’s music are as much a legacy of those madrigals as of the Bohemian and Moravian folk music that also resonates powerfully in this music.