Symphony No. 2 (Martinů)

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Bohuslav Martinů's Symphony No. 2, H. 295, was composed from May 29 to July 24, 1943 under a commission from the Czech community in Cleveland. It was premiered by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf on October 28 that year, which marked the 25th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia,[1] then downgraded to a Czech protectorate and Slovak puppet state under German occupation.

The work, which has been linked with Antonín Dvořák's 1889 Symphony No. 8 due to its innocently pastoral character,[2] is the shortest of Martinů's six symphonies, lasting ca. 24 minutes, and the only one that ends in its original tonality, D.[3] It consists of a flowing Allegro, a serene Andante, a martial scherzo and a bright finale.

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Andante moderato
  3. Poco allegro
  4. Allegro

Although the quiet theme opening the Allegro moderato seems to promise a sonata form, Martinů dispenses with both a second theme and the expected development section.[4] The Andante is the most successful and least ambitious slow movement in all of Martinů's symphonies. It is even more nostalgic in character than is ever found in Dvořák, expressed by phrases of a folk-like simplicity exchanged between woodwinds and strings.[5]



  1. ^ Book on the symphonies published in 2010 by Michael Crump, pages 210 and 425.
  2. ^ Review of the Czech Philharmonic / Neumann release by Rob Barnett in
  3. ^ Work profile in Guide de la Musique Symphonique, by F.R. Tranchefort et al.,[full citation needed] page 462
  4. ^ Introduction to the symphonies of Martinů published in Melómano 14, no. 144 (July–August 2009): 58–62 by Martín Llade.
  5. ^ Survey article in Tempo, new series, nos. 55–56 (Autumn–Winter): 19–26, 31–33 (titled "Martinu the Symphonist") by Peter Evans, citation on page 30.

Further reading[edit]

  • Crump, Michael David. 1986. "The Symphonies of Bohuslav Martinu: An Analytical Study". M.Litt. diss. Birmingham: University of Birmingham.
  • Crump, Michael. 2010. Martinů and the Symphony. Symphonic Studies, no. 3. London: Toccata Press. ISBN 9780907689652.
  • Evans, Peter. 1960. "Martinu the Symphonist". Tempo, new series, nos. 55–56 (Autumn–Winter): 19–26, 31–33.
  • Halbreich, Harry. 2007. Bohuslav Martinů: Werkverzeichnis und Biografie, second, revised edition. Mainz, London, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Paris, Prague, Tokyo, and Toronto: Schott. ISBN 9783795705657.
  • Layton, Robert. 1966. "Martinů and the Czech Tradition". In The Symphony: Vol. II: Elgar to the Present Day, edited by Robert Simpson, pp. 218–29. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Llade, Martín. 2009. "Las sinfonías de Bohuslav Martinů". Melómano: Revista de Música clásica 14, no. 144 (July–August): 58–62.
  • Powell, Larson. 2007. "Sound as Form: Martinů's Symphonies". Music and Society in Eastern Europe, no. 2 (December): 77–115.
  • Rathert, Wolfgang. 2009. "Die Sinfonien von Bohuslav Martinů: Ein Beitrag zur amerikanischen Musikgeschichte?" Musik-Konzepte neue Folge (November, special issue: Bohuslav Martinů), edited by Ulrich Tadday, 113–26. Munich: Edition Text + Kritik.
  • Šafránek, Miloš. 1962. Bohuslav Martinů, His Life and Works, translated by Roberta Finlayson-Samsourová. Prague: Artia; London: Allan Wingate.