Martinu: Various works inspired by jazz and sport Various artists, with orchestras conducted by Zbynek Vostrak and Petr Vronsky (Recorded: 1969-1984) (Supraphon SU 3058-2 011)

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The Independent Culture
He could shimmy, foxtrot, tango or Charleston; he could play the blues, sketch a Thunderbolt fighter-plane in flight and write great symphonies - and yet Bohuslav Martinu always kept Dvorak and Janacek well within earshot. He was a great one for what he once called "new ballet on the street, in the ring and the dance hall". His one-act ballet La revue de cuisine - easily the best-performed item on this generously-filled CD - includes a slapstick Prelude, a moody Tango and snappy Charleston. There's the Jazz-Suite for small orchestra with its melancholy "Musique d'entre- acte: Boston" and a masterly Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments, experimental music, neo-classical in style and very well played by Jan Panenka and the Prague Wind Quintet.

The 1'49" "Shimmy Foxtrot" comes from a ballet-comedy Who is the Most Powerful in the World?, Le Jazz crescendos to full orchestra and voices and then there's the "sports" angle - Half-time, a soccer sound-alike that caused a riot at its 1924 premiere (heaven-knows why... it's no more "revolutionary" than Honegger), a rather nondescript La Bagarre in honour of Lindbergh's transatlantic flight and Thunderbolt P-47, a fiery scherzo, action-packed and as catchy as Michael Torke's Ash. Performance standards vary from good to exceptional and Supraphon's sound quality is never less than acceptable.

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