General information
Title CZKoncert pro violoncello a orchestr č. 2
Title ENConcerto for violoncello and orchestra No. 2
Title DEKonzert für Cello und Orchester Nr. 2
SubcategoryVioloncello Concertos
Halbreich number304
Parts of the composition (movements)1. Moderato; 2. Andante poco moderato; 3. Allegro
Solo voiceVc
Place of compositionNew York, NY
Year of origin1945
Initiation of composition20.12.1944
Completion of composition26.02.1945
First performance
Performer Košler, Zdeněk
Večtomov, Saša
Date of the first performance25.05.1965
Location of the first performanceČeské Budějovice, Czech Republic
Note on the first performanceAlexandr Večtomov (Vc), Zdeněk Košler (cond.)
Ensemble Symfonický orchestr hl. m. Prahy FOK
Symfonický orchestr hl. m. Prahy FOK
Autograph deposition
InstitutionG. Schirmer, Inc.
DepositionNew York, NY
OwnerG. Schirmer, Inc.
Note on the autograph depostitionAutograph part of solo Vc, autograph piano reduction and sketches are deposited at the Bohuslav Martinů Centre in Polička (deposit of the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation). *** Reproduction of the autograph score with markings by Miloš Sádlo located at the Bohuslav Martinů Institute.
CopyrightAssociated Music Publishers, New York
Purchase linkbuy
Associated Music Publishers, 1946
Call number at the BM Institute: 1022 KV
Specification of the edition: 1st edition
Details of this edition
References Related writings
Documents in the Library
About the composition

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2, H 304 is Martinů’s fourth concertante composition for this instrument. The first composition was the one-movement Concertino of 1924, followed by Sonata da camera for Cello and Chamber Orchestra of 1940 and Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1 of 1930, the latest version of which was not completed until late 1955. Both cello concerti are markedly different in their character. Concerto No. 1 is more similar to major concerti of the Neo-Romanticist type, while the second one stands out on the basis of its lyrical and intimate expression. Except for a truly brilliant cadence shortly before the end of the third movement it lacks the virtuoso showiness of the preceding concerti, but on the other hand it is a magnificent example of a dialogue and harmony between soloist and orchestra. While all three versions of the first concerto were performed almost immediately after their completion, Martinů did not live to see the première of his second cello concerto. After disputes with the soloist, Martinů set the score aside. The composition was performed 20 years after its inception on May 25, 1965, by the Prague Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Zdeněk Košler in České Budějovice. The cello solo was played by Sasha Vechtomov, a member of the Czech Trio, who is to be credited with several recordings of Martinů’s compositions for cello and orchestra.

The second cello concert is one of the many compositions of Martinů’s “American” period, marked by his desire to return home. That it takes inspiration from Czech folk melodiousness is apparent above all in the theme of the second movement, while the first movement reflects the atmosphere of Czech Christmas, about which Martinů probably reminisced when he started to work on this movement on December 20, 1944. From this point of view, what is remarkable is the emergence of the solo cello in the introductory movement, which within fifty measures moves exclusively in the diatonic tonal repertoire. It is worth mentioning that in this composition Martinů departed from the generally accepted sequence of movements in an instrument concerto. The second movement is not the usual slow movement, but it is closer to a light scherzando. The third movement “Allegro” closes the concerto with a more lively tempo and more frequent virtuoso figurations

Jana Honzíková, programme of the Bohuslav Martinů Festival's concert, 21. 12. 2000


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