Over the past few decades the music of the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) has enjoyed a slow but steady rise in popularity, and his six symphonies, written between 1942 and 1953, have now been recorded many times; concert performances are on the increase, too. But Martinu and the Symphony is not only the first book in English intended to help the music-lover to a deeper understanding of these glorious works - it is by far the most comprehensive work on the subject in any language. Each Symphony is examined in turn, the analyses revealing what makes each creation so individual yet also so clearly part of a close-knit family of works and identifying the elements of his melodic, harmonic and instrumental style which produce Martinu's very personal vibrant and organic symphonic manner.
Martinu and the Symphony is illustrated with almost 200 musical examples, taken not only from the Symphonies but also from his other works for large orchestra. His path to symphonic mastery is examined in unprecedented detail: attention is at last paid to the early orchestral works which, although largely unperformed and unpublished even now, afford fascinating glimpses of the composer to come. A study of the late triptychs The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca and The Parables rounds out this appraisal of Martinus enthralling symphonic and orchestral legacy.
Crump quotes with approval Martinu's injunction to composers to 'be wary of false magnitude' (...). He has evidently taken that injunction to heart and applied it to his own writing, and in the process he has produced an engaging book that should do much to enhance the esteem of a unique and treasurable corner of the symphonic repertory. --Music & Letters
Crump provides... a sequence of magnificently enlarged programme essays that will surely resonate with the composer's admirers and also provoke wider interest. ... [Crump's] passion is infectious. --The Times Literary Supplement
This is the first book in English on this topic intended to help the music-lover to a deeper understanding of the Symphonies and orchestral music of Martinu. The author identifies the elements of his melodic, harmonic and instrumental style which produce Martinu's very personal vibrant and organic symphonic manner. The book is illustrated with almost 200 musical examples, taken not only from the Symphonies but also from Martinu's other works for large orchestra. --Music Web International