MARTINŮ Bohuslav, Nonet H374
This work dates from the last year of Martinů’s life and he wrote it with a specific ensemble in mind: the Czech Nonet. This Nonet is one of Martinů’s most fluent and skilful chamber works and in the outer movements his music suggests something akin to the joyful music-making of a group of Czech folk musicians. The heart of the work is the lyrical central Andante.
Martinů was far from home (he spent his last years in Switzerland) and in this movement he seems to bid a fond farewell to the Czech homeland that he knew he would never see again. The first performance was given by the Czech Nonet at the Salzburg Festival on 27 July 1959 and Martinů died a month later, on 28 August.
Nigel Simeone © 2011