General information
Title CZSinfonietta La Jolla
Subtitle CZpro komorní orchestr
Title ENSinfonietta La Jolla [auth.]
Subtitle ENfor chamber orchestra [auth.]
Title DESinfonietta La Jolla
Subtitle DEfür Kammerorchester
CategoryOrchestral Music
SubcategoryWorks for Chamber or Small Orchestra
Halbreich number328
Parts of the composition (movements)1. Poco allegro; 2. Largo - Andante moderato; 3. Allegro
Diplomatic transcription of the dedicationCommissioned by and Dedicated to | The MUSICAL ARTS SOCIETY of LA JOLLA
Place of compositionNew York, NY
Year of origin1950
Initiation of composition01/1950
Completion of composition21.03.1950
First performance
Performer Johannesen, Grant
Sokoloff, Nikolai
Date of the first performance13.08.1950
Location of the first performanceLa Jolla, High School Auditorium
Note on the first performanceGrant Johannesen (Pf), Nikolai Sokoloff (conductor)
Ensemble Orchestra of the Musical Arts Society of La Jolla
Orchestra of the Musical Arts Society of La Jolla
Autograph deposition
Owner of the sourceCentrum Bohuslava Martinů v Poličce
Note on the autograph depostitionReproductions of the autograph score are located at the Zdeněk Zouhar’s Archive, the archive of Boosey & Hawkes in London and the Library of Congress in Washington.
CopyrightBoosey & Hawkes, London-New York
Purchase linkbuy
Boosey & Hawkes, New York, New York, NY, 1953
Call number at the BM Institute: 1314 kl. part
Specification of the edition: Reprint of the 1st edition - piano part
Details of this edition
Boosey & Hawkes, London, 1978
Call number at the BM Institute: 1233kp
Specification of the edition: Reprint of the 1st edition - pocket score
Details of this edition
References Related writings
Documents in the Library
About the composition

Sinfonietta La Jolla for Piano and Orchestra, H 328 of 1950 marked Bohuslav Martinů’s last return to the Neoclassicist style. Neoclassicism appeared in his compositions in the 1930s (Serenade for Chamber Orchestra, H 199, 1930) and it again influenced his composition in the early 1940s (Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, H 300, 1944). In La Jolla one can feel Martinů’s admiration for Haydn, which he expressed a year later in his Sinfonia concertante No. 2, H 322 (1949), scored for the same ensemble and written in the same main key as Haydn’s eponymous composition of 1792. Neoclassicist musical language is apparent also in the harmonic aspects of the composition, the thematic work, and above all the construction of planes of a non-expositional character which are often filled by mere color figurations. The simplicity and purity of expression and transparent rendering also enhance the classicist spirit of the piece. As well, however, it is impossible to ignore Martinů’s experience from composing five symphonies, which he primarily draws on for thematic material. The introductory movement contains references to the main theme of the final movement of Martinů’s Fifth Symphony, H 310, which utilizes the Moravian folk song Bolavá hlavěnka (My Head is Aching). After all, the source of inspiration in Czech and Moravian folk songs is also apparent in other works from Martinů’s “American” period. The second movement is a typical slow middle movement, the moodiness of which is a contrast to both joyous allegro movements. In most sections the movement is scored only for the group of strings with piano; in one section the piano is replaced by the solo flute. An episode scored for strings also appears shortly before the end of the third movement.

In La Jolla the piano does not play the role of a solo instrument. It is seen, rather, as an obligatory piano, conceived of as an important, different color element, fully integrated into the orchestral structure. The original autograph does not bear the current title “Sinfonietta La Jolla for Piano and Orchestra”, but only “for Chamber Orchestra”. The piece was named after a small township near the Mexican border, whose Music Society commissioned the composition.

Jana Honzíková, programme of the Bohuslav Martinů Festival's concert, December 10, 2000

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