Martinu: La Revue de Cuisine; Harpsichord Concerto; Chamber Music No 1; Les Rondes
Robert Hill (harpsichord), Holst-Sinfonietta/Klaus Simon (piano), Naxos 8.572485 ***
Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu was notoriously uneven. This CD, which is not entirely free from his tendency to sidestep into prattling, concentrates on works for unusual combinations. The 1935 Harpsichord Concerto is scored for flute, bassoon, three violins, viola, cello, double bass and piano, the Chamber Music No 1 (from 1959, the last year of the composer’s life) for clarinet, harp, piano and string trio. The colours are even gaudier, with lots of adaptations of popular music and jazz, in the chirrupy dance suite Les rondes (1930) and the tuneful, cheeky ballet La revue de cuisine, one of the composer’s best known works, here offered complete, as reconstructed by Christopher Hogwood. The performances by Freiburg’s Holst-Sinfonietta are attractively fresh.