This collection of fourteen pieces, together entitled Puppets, plays an exceptional role in the catalogue of early works by Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959), namely in that it represents the first works by Martinu which transcended his initial attempts at composition and quickly found a publisher.
Thanks to their lasting popularity particularly with young pianists, they were ultimately published in numerous editions. (The way the pieces are numbered, which the composer verifiably accepted, however, does not correspond to their actual chronological order - they were, in fact, written in reverse order, so that Puppets III came first, while Puppets I is the latest in the series.)
All three books of Puppets, which emerged between the years 1912 and 1925 and, despite their title, differ from one another in their aesthetic approaches and progressive maturity, are published by EditioBärenreiter in new, revised urtext editions edited by Ales Brezina. This urtext edition with its relatively comprehensive preface describing the circumstances surrounding the advent of the work,is supported by the latest research and an assessment of all known and accessible sources, which the editor presents and clarifies in detail in his critical commentary to the second and third books of Puppets.
Thus Puppet's Ball (No. 4) is also published in the third book in two separate versions - in a newer version based on the first edition, on which Martinu very probably collaborated and which introduces, apart from other changes, entirely new music as well in the middle part, and in an earlier version based on the autograph.
Thanks to its witty musical ideas and the composer's empathy for children and their intellectual world, Puppets has, since its first edition, always been highly popular among performers.
Waltz of a Sentimental Puppet