Born in Czechoslovakia, Bohuslav Martinu moved countries (and continents) several times over the course of his life. He first travelled to France in order to pursue his musical studies before seeing to America during the Second World War. He later returned to Europe where he spent his final years in Switzerland.
A prolific composer, Martinu’s abundant musical output traces his life journey.As he encountered new musical sounds and was exposed to new philosophies, Martinu used the compositional process to work through and digest these ideas before, as his writing matured, incorporating his findings more comfortably into a style uniquely his own.
This Serenade was written when Martinu was 61, and it neatly encapsulates the composer’s musical development.The work is firmly rooted in the musical idioms of his homeland, but it is shot through with jazzy beats and innovative tone colours, while exercising the discipline of neo-classical elegance.Although rhythm is what gives the work its momentum, it is propelled in the direction of melody, with moments of great lyricism emerging out of his skilfully crafted musical landscape.