The Epic of Gilgamesh (Martinů)

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Gilgameš (English: The Epic of Gilgamesh) is a Czech-language oratorio by Bohuslav Martinů composed 1954-1955 and premiered in 1958.[1] Martinů's text comprises a sectional portrait of the original Epic of Gilgamesh in three parts.[2]

The premiere of the oratorio took place on 24 January 1958 with the Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Basel Chamber Choir conducted by Paul Sacher.[3] The United Kingdom premiere was conducted by Vernon Handley in 1970.[4]


  1. ^ Theodore Ziolkowski - Gilgamesh Among Us: Modern Encounters With the Ancient Epic 2011 Page 75 "In 1954–55, only a few years before his death, the enormously prolific Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959), along with Leoš Janáček one of the two leading Czech composers of the twentieth century, wrote his oratorio The Epic of Gilgamesh, his "
  2. ^ F. James Rybka Bohuslav Martinů: The Compulsion to Compose 2011 Page 258 "Synopsis of Martinů's “Gilgamesh” - In his approach toward molding this classical epic into an oratorio, Martinů immediately realized that he could not incorporate many passages of the metaphorical, extant story that is dispersed over the dispersed over the twelve tablets. Even the most coherent versions are disconnected. He anticipated including the Great Flood (tablet IX), but eventually had to eliminate it. Instead, he composes a sectional portrait of Gilgamesh in three parts"
  3. ^ F. James Rybka Bohuslav Martinů: The Compulsion to Compose Page 259 2011 -"Although he completed the work in 1954, the premiere of The Epic of Gilgamesh took place on January 24, 1958, by the Basel Chamber Orchestra and Choir conducted by Sacher. This event had a profound personal connection to all the"
  4. ^ The Musical Times - Volume 111 Page 723 JSTOR (Organization) - 1970 "Martinu's Epic of Gilgamesh was given its British premiere in Guildford on May 2; the occasion was also Vernon Handley's 100th .."