General information
Title CZRomance z pampelišek
Subtitle CZkantáta pro smíšený sbor a sopránové sólo
Title ENThe Romance from the Dandelions
Subtitle ENcantata for mixed choir and soprano solo
Title DELöwenzahn-Romanze
Subtitle DEKantate für gemischter Chor und Sopransolo
CategoryVocal Music
SubcategoryCantatas without Instrumental Accompaniment or with Single Instruments
Halbreich number364
InstrumentsCoro misto (SSAATTBB)
Solo voiceS
Dedicatee Kühn, Jan
Kühnová, Markéta
Diplomatic transcription of the dedicationDedicated to Markéta and Jan Kühn
Note on the dedicationDedication on the title page of the printed score's 1st edition.
Place of compositionRome
Year of origin1957
Initiation of composition12.05.1957
Completion of composition18.05.1957
First performance
Performer Kühnová, Markéta
Date of the first performance26.10.1958
Location of the first performancePrague
Ensemble Český pěvecký sbor
Český pěvecký sbor
Autograph deposition
InstitutionBohuslav Martinů Centre in Polička
OwnerCentrum Bohuslava Martinů v Poličce
Note on the autograph depostitionReproduction of the autograph score is held by the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel.
CopyrightBärenreiter Praha
Purchase linkbuy
Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury, hudby a umění, Prague, 1960
Call number at the BM Institute: 1174a
Specification of the edition: 1st edition
Details of this edition
Supraphon, Prague, 1997
Call number at the BM Institute: 1174b
Specification of the edition: 2nd edition - reprint of the SNKLHU edition H 2997 from 1960
Details of this edition
Bärenreiter Praha, Prague, 2016
Call number at the BM Institute: SV MAR 4
Specification of the edition: Bohuslav Martinů Complete Edition
Details of this edition
References Related writings
Documents in the Library
Note Lyrics by Miloslav Bureš. *** German translation by Kurt Honolka, English translation by Iris Urwin. *** No title page in the autograph score; title on the first page of the score: "ROMANCE". *** Second edition: Editio Supraphon, Prague 1997.
About the composition

On May 1, 1955, the Union of Czechoslovak Composers joined the December call of the Union of Soviet Composers to promote cooperation in songwriting between composers and poets. It, therefore, called on the Union of Czechoslovak Writers to work together. At the end of June 1955, the poet Miloslav Bureš sent the composer Bohuslav Martinů the poetic cycle The Song about the Well of Rubies. A year later, Bureš sent him another "song": To his old mother's song, and a year later A song About Mikš from the mountains. Martinů set the first of them to music immediately and renamed it The Opening of the Wells, H 354. But the "song" did not remain in the names of later cantatas, too. In 1957, when the composer was waiting for the poet in Rome, he set the following masterpiece to music: He called it The Romance from the Dandelions, H 364. He previously set to music another Bureš's cycle, renamed The Legend of the Smoke from Potato Tops, H 360. Martinů protested with this cantata in the autumn of 1956 against the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution. He postponed Bureš's last "song" for several years, until the beginning of 1959. He named this cantata Mikesh from the Mountains, H 375, and dedicated it to the founder and first choirmaster of Kühn's mixed choir, Pavel Kühn, for the first public concert of this ensemble on June 18, 1959.

The cantata which reached Czechoslovakia in the shortest period of all the works of the cycle, waited to be premiered the longest. In summer 1957 Martinů asked Bureš: "What does Kühn think of that last Romance? It is a bit harder than the Springs. Bureš's answer has not been preserved. The magazine "Hudební rozhledy" noted in its November issue: "The score is already in the hands of Jan and Markéta Kühn, to whom the piece is dedicated and who are preparing its world premiere with the Czech Choir for the beginning of the next year. In November, Martinů hasn't been informed about the date of the premiere, yet. As late as January 1958 Martinů still gave the optimistic estimate: "[...] the Dandelions will probably be in March." However, a further delay was caused by the death of conductor Jan Kühn on 15 February 1958.

Martinů was interested to hear how the cantata had been received: "I am very curious what effect the Dandelions had and whether they will be recorded. Tell me about the concert." Bureš's reply to this question has been lost. It is possible that in autumn 1958 Markéta Kühnová directed the Czech Choir in the first recording of A Dandelion Romance for Czechoslovak Radio. However, the composer did not hear any of the broadcasts of the cantata, and the only evidence of the recording's existence is Bureš's indirect testimony. 

Although Bureš's report in "Lidová demokracie" in May 1957 promised that A Dandelion Romance would be "published here soon", the delays and competency disputes between publishing houses in Czechoslovakia postponed the edition to such an extent that the draft contract was not sent to Martinů until 29 June 1959, a mere two months before his death. A Dandelion Romance was published post-humously in 1960, and thus Martinů had no part in its preparation. 

Vít Zouhar, Hudební rozhledy, 73/2020, Souborné vydání děl Bohuslava Martinů VI/2/3, © 2016 Editio Bärenreiter Praha

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