General information
Title CZMikeš z hor [auth.]
Subtitle CZkantáta pro sóla, smíšený sbor a instrumentální doprovod
Title ENMikesh from the Mountains
Subtitle ENcantata for soli, mixed choir and instrumental accompaniment
Title DEMikesch vom Berge
Subtitle DEKantate für Soli, gemischter Chor und Instrumentalbegleitung
CategoryVocal Music
SubcategoryCantatas without Instrumental Accompaniment or with Single Instruments
Halbreich number375
InstrumentsVl Vl Vla Pf; Coro misto (SATB)
Solo voiceS T
Place of compositionSchönenberg - Pratteln
Year of origin1959
Initiation of composition02.02.1959
Completion of composition13.02.1959
First performance
Performer Kühn, Pavel
Date of the first performance18.06.1959
Location of the first performancePrague
Ensemble Kühnův smíšený sbor, členové orchestru FOK/members of Prague Symphony Orchestra
Kühnův smíšený sbor
Symfonický orchestr hl. m. Prahy FOK
Autograph deposition
InstitutionBohuslav Martinů Centre in Polička
OwnerCentrum Bohuslava Martinů v Poličce
Note on the autograph depostitionReproductions of the autograph score are held by the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel and by Bohuslav Martinů Centre in Polička.
CopyrightBärenreiter Praha
CopyrightBärenreiter Praha
Purchase linkbuy
Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury, hudby a umění, Prague, 1960
Call number at the BM Institute: 1160
Specification of the edition: 1st edition
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. *** Alternative English title: "Mikesh from the Hills" (used in the printed score). *** Second edition (unchanged): Editio Supraphon, Prague, 1990.
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 composer seems to have received A song About Mikš from the mountains in late August 1957. He considered the verses “beautiful" and emphasised how deeply he was moved. All the same, he suggested to the poet that he approach other composers: “You currently have the three poems, so that will suffice for now. So if you have the option of finding a different composer, which no doubt you have, do not worry about me.” This decision was caused both by the fact that he was working on other new compositions, and by other circumstances that he did not specify to avoid censorship: “Even despite these reasons, I myself think that it will be better if I keep my silence for a while, though I do not want to tell you why." He kept to his intentions and postponed setting the text to music for more than a year. Even so, he asked Bureš to revise the poem twice. The cantata Mikesh from the Mountains marks a definitive end to Martinů’s cycle of compositions on Bureš’s texts, which he had worked on intermittently for the last five years of his life

Less than two weeks after the premiere, on 29 June 1959, representatives of SNKLHU sent the composer a draft contract for the publication of the work together with the previous unpublished cantatas, and the edition was published the following year, ie after the composer's death.

Vít Zouhar, Hudební rozhledy, 73/2020; Bohuslav Martinů Complete Edition VI/2/3, © 2016 Editio Bärenreiter Praha

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