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Martinů "Ariane"

Martinů \

As it is, this recording, made live in 2014 in Essen, is the first in around 30 years – and it’s very much worthwhile, thanks to a strong, idiomatic cast, conductor Tomáš Netopil’s sympathy with the score, and the Essen orchestra’s flowing, characterful performance.

As it is, this recording, made live in 2014 in Essen, is the first in around 30 years – and it’s very much worthwhile, thanks to a strong, idiomatic cast, conductor Tomáš Netopil’s sympathy with the score, and the Essen orchestra’s flowing, characterful performance. In just one act, lasting around 45 minutes, it’s a brief and relatively light traversal of the gruesome story; after Ariane’s long, final aria – beautifully sung by Simona Šaturová, with heart-stopping high notes – the ending is almost throwaway. There’s room on the disc for Martinů’s 1938 Double Concerto, a restless, defiant, Stravinsky-esque piece shaking a fist at the gloom of its time.

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