Cantatas on texts by Miloslav Bures
Four Chamber Cantatas
The Bohuslav Martinu Complete Edition VI/2/3
In 2015 our publishing house launched the extensive Bohuslav Martinu Complete Edition (BMCE), which constitutes the first scholarly critical edition of the complete works of this classic of twentieth-century Czech music in all the versions and arrangements that he created or authorised, some newly discovered and previously unpublished compositions inclusive. The BMCE is edited by the Bohuslav Martinu Institute in Prague.
The four chamber cantatas included in this volume were written in the composer’s intense creative period in the years 1955–1959 on the words by Martinu’s friend, the Policka poet Miloslav Bureš (1909–1968).
Both the themes and the language relate closely to Czech culture while transcending any regional limitations. Their dramaturgy, structure, subject, and treatment correspond to the composer’s concept of modern musical theatre. The motives of return and the search for one’s identity appear in his operas, cantatas, choral works, and song cycles from as early as the 1930s, as do the folklore-based compositional elements he used. Bureš’s unassuming combination of citations and stylisations of Czech folklore with the archetypes of rituals and legends was one of the main reasons why his poems resonated so strongly with Martinu, why the composer returned to them again and again, and why he set them to music in his cantatas.
This critical edition eliminates the minor discrepancies, errors, and additions that marred the previous editions (the addition of missing texts, vocals, dynamics, tempo changes, etc.) and were not in accordance with the composer’s intentions. The present edition takes note of documents that were often considered lost or destroyed (source texts, Bureš’s unknown correspondence, etc.) and explains the genesis, performance history, and period context of the cantatas based on the newest academic findings.
- First scholarly-critical edition
- Vocal and recitative texts in original Czech
- Literal English translation (by Adam Prentis) of the texts of all the cantatas in their present edition
- Detailed preface and critical commentary (both in English and Czech) by the editor
- Facsimiles of key sources