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Enhance your patrons’ experience with notes that highlight the music’s humanity and illuminate its depth. Choose from our wide selection of pre-written pieces or commission custom notes that complement your concert story.

Program Notes & Synopses

Enhance your patrons’ experience with notes that highlight the music’s humanity and illuminate its depths.

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Martinů: Sinfonietta La Jolla

Martinů: Sinfonietta La Jolla


218 words. (Recommended companion note: The Sound of the Czechs)
program notes by Chris Myers

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Copyright © 2016 Chris Myers. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution or reproduction prohibited.

Sinfonietta La Jolla, H. 328
Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
piccolo, flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, trumpet, timpani, percussion, piano, strings

Composed 1950. First performance: August 13, 1950, La Jolla, California. Orchestra of the Musical Arts Society of La Jolla cond. Nikolai Sokoloff.

I. Poco allegro
II. Largo
III. Allegro

Bohuslav Martinů was among the multitude of European refugees who fled to the United States at the outbreak of World War II. He intended eventually to return to his home in Czechoslovakia, but the ascension of Communism made this impossible, and he took American citizenship in 1952.

The Sinfonietta La Jolla was written for the Musical Arts Society of La Jolla, which requested that he write something tuneful and accessible. Martinů, who once commented that “music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort,” gladly acquiesced to this request.

The stage is set with a lively rhythmic movement making extensive use of ostinatos (musical fragments that are continuously repeated) and syncopated rhythms, over which Martinů introduces soaring lyrical melodies. The second movement grows introspective, with a yearning piano line supported by gently rocking string accompaniment. A perky oboe wakes us from this dreamy mood and launches the third movement, a charming conversation of playful melodic fragments exchanged between members of the orchestra.

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