Album: Martinu, Violin Concerto No 2/ Serenada/Toccata – Faust/Belohlavek et al(Harmonia Mundi)

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The Independent Culture

Martinu's spicy orchestration and melodic voice are vividly realised in this engaged performance of the Second Violin Concerto from Isabelle Faust, Jiri Belohlavek and the Prague Philharmonia. Imagine Dvorak rewritten by Gershwin and Poulenc, and you'll have an idea of the balance of sentimental tradition and sharp-suited modernity.

Faust's dark, leggy sound and calm negotiation of the third movement cadenza confirm her reputation as a great stylist. The quivering motifs of the "Toccata e due canzoni" highlight the peppery sound of the Prague Philharmonia's woodwind in dialogue with the strings and pianist Cédric Tiberghien.