General information
Title CZRhapsody-Concerto
Subtitle CZpro violu a orchestr
Title ENRhapsody-Concerto [auth.]
Subtitle ENfor viola and orchestra [auth.]
Title DERhapsody-Concerto
Subtitle DEfür Viola und Orchester
Title FRRhapsody-Concerto
Subtitle FRpour alto et orchestre
SubcategoryConcertos for Other Solo Instruments and Orchestra
Halbreich number337
Parts of the composition (movements)1. Moderato; 2. Molto adagio - Cadenza - Poco allegro - Andante (molto tranquillo)
Instruments2222-4200-Timp-Tamb picc-Archi
Solo voiceVla
Dedicatee Veissi, Jascha
Note on the dedicationDedicated to Jascha Veissi.
Place of compositionNew York, NY
Year of origin1952
Initiation of composition15.03.1952
Completion of composition18.04.1952
First performance
Performer Szell, George
Veissi, Jascha
Date of the first performance19.02.1953
Location of the first performanceCleveland (USA)
Note on the first performanceJascha Veissi (Vla), George Szell (cond.)
Ensemble Cleveland Orchestra
Cleveland Orchestra
Autograph deposition
Note on the autograph depostitionAutograph missing. *** Two reproductions of the autograph score are located at the Jascha Veissi's estate in Carmel, California, USA. *** Another reproduction of the score is held by the Bohuslav Martinů Centre in Polička. *** Autograph piano reduction is located in the archive of Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel. Its reproduction is held by the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel.
CopyrightBärenreiter, Kassel
Purchase linkbuy
Bärenreiter, Kassel, Kassel,
Call number at the BM Institute: 1110 PS
Specification of the edition: Large score, reprint of the 1st edition
Details of this edition
Bärenreiter, Kassel, Kassel, 1972
Call number at the BM Institute: 1110 KV
Specification of the edition: Piano reduction
Details of this edition
Bärenreiter, Kassel, Kassel, 1972
Call number at the BM Institute: 1110 PSP
Specification of the edition: Printed solo part
Details of this edition
Bärenreiter, Kassel, Kassel, 1980
Call number at the BM Institute: 1110
Specification of the edition: Score, reprint of the 1st edition
Details of this edition
Bärenreiter Praha, Prague, 2019
Call number at the BM Institute: SV MAR 8
Specification of the edition: Bohuslav Martinů Complete Edition
Details of this edition
References Related writings
Documents in the Library
About the composition

The Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, H 337, originated in 1952. In previous years, Martinů became established in the USA as one of the most successful composers, appreciated by the public, performers, and music critics. At the same time, however, he was gradually preparing for his definitive move back to Europe. A major factor in this decision was the escalating political situation on both sides of the divided world, which in the USA manifested in the House Un-American Activities Committee that impacted a range of prominent figures from the arts and sciences. A return to Communist Czechoslovakia, divided from the democratic world by the Iron Curtain, was equally unimaginable for him. Since American citizenship was an obstacle for permanent residency in France for both he and his wife Charlotte, they would always live there only temporarily for several months, and from 1953 lived mostly in Italy and Switzerland. 

A clearer and lighter composition approach was characteristic of the later period of Martinů's work, contrasting sharply with the onset of the post-war musical avant-garde. However, this international freeing and simplifying of expressive means (in harmony, for example, a marked use of major and minor triads without the added tones, which were typical for Martinů up until that time) was not due to the composer resorting to complacency or being ignorant of the new generation, whose work he actually followed closely (for instance Pierre Boulez). The development was a result of a long phase of thorough experimentation. The specific character of this final creative period, beginning with the Rhapsody-Concerto, emerged from the completely distinct development of Martinů's music thinking. He did not consider the progressiveness of technical and expressive devices as genuine originality but regarded them as extramusical criteria - music composed like its is not a goal in his view, but merely a means of the composer's clear feeling for questions of form. By not referring to this predominantly meditative work as a viola concerto, he distinguished it from his earlier concertos, which were marked by a fixed formal structure.

Sandra Bergmannová, Paul Silverthorne, Jitka Zichová, Bohuslav Martinů Complete Edition III/1/8, © 2019 Editio Bärenreiter Praha

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