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CHAN 10551
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CHAN 10551

Martinu: Chamber Works

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2009

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2009


George Caird


Schubert Ensemble


Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk


Jeremy Hayes


Jonathan Cooper

Record Label



Total Time - 66:02
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Piano Quartet, H 287 (1942)

  To Lucien Kirsch-Laporte and E. Bontempo, B. Ochs, E. Lifschey  
1 I Poco allegro 6:23
2 II Adagio 9:10
3 III Allegretto poco moderato - Poco allegro - Poco vivo - 8:13
 George Caird oboe

Quartet, H 315 (1947)

  for oboe, violin, cello and piano  
  À Leopold Mannes  
4 I Moderato poco allegro 5:02
5 II Adagio - Andante poco moderato - Poco allegro 6:49

Duo No. 2, H 371 (1958)

  in D major - in D-Dur - en ré majeur  
  À Madame Trauti Mohr  
6 I Allegretto 3:01
7 II Adagio 4:36
8 III Poco allegro 3:22

Piano Trio No. 3, H 332 (1951)

  in C major - in C-Dur - en ut majeur  
  À Leopold Mannes  
9 I Allegro moderato 7:06
10 II Andante 5:34
11 III Allegro 6:46

Commemorating 50 years since Martinu’s death, the Birmingham Conservatoire’s Ensemble-in-Residence, The Schubert Ensemble, together with the Conservatoire’s Principal, George Caird, perform a varied programme by this prolific Czech composer, who spent much of his life in exile.

The recording illustrates both his versatility and his fantastically colourful musical language, and culminates in the exhilarating piano quartet, which is considered to be one of Martinu’s finest chamber compositions from his American years.  It was immediately after completing this work that Martinu embarked upon writing the first of his six substantial symphonies, major contributions to the symphonic legacy of the first half of the twentieth century.  Two of the other works on this disc were also written in his during his stay in America – Piano Trio No.3, and Quartet for oboe, violin and piano.  Duo No.2 in D for violin and violoncello completes the programme.   

After 26 years at the forefront of British chamber music, the Schubert Ensemble is firmly established as one of the world’s leading exponents of chamber music for piano and strings.


"...The performances are lively and confident, with kudos to oboist George Caird for his unfailingly sweet tone and ability to blend well with his colleagues." ".. this release offers plently of fun and enjoyment."

David Hurwitz

“…The Chandos disc is a stunner, and not just for the terrific playing and profound understanding of the Martinu muse that the Schubert Ensemble brings to the table, but because of the selection of music itself.”

Steven E Ritter

Fanfare - March/April 2010

                                 Repertoire *****      Sound ****    Interpretation ****

Robert Nemecek

Ensemble Magazine (Germany) - February/March 2010

“…The Schubert Ensemble and George Caird capture the sparkle that comes from bubbling to the surface of Martinu’s fast-cutting outer movements, whilst ensuring that the music’s darker undercurrents are also free flowing. They negotiate Martinu’s swift changes of emotional direction with a sleight-of-hand insouciance that strikes right to the core of these elusive scores. Highly Recommended.”

Julian Haylock

Classic FM Magazine - February 2010

“Martinu’s approachable chamber music in splendidly prepared performances.”
The Schubert Ensemble’s performances are first-rate, partnered marvellously by George Caird in the 1947 Quartet. Another huge bonus of the new disc is the Chandos sound typically warm and spacious in the best traditions of the label. Martinu’s instrumental writing, being usually quite angular, can often lose its innate lyricism in fierce recordings and acoustics but here it is allowed to bloom with unusual richness. …Highly recommended.”
Guy Rickards

Gramophone - January 2010

“Stars hardly count in this two-disc tribute to the much missed Richard. Proceeds go to the Hickox Memorial Foundation. His wide repertoire is represented in the well-chosen extracts from Bach and Haydn to Britten, Vaughan Williams and Elgar. Everyone will have favourites, whether they are the scenes from Albert Herring and Peter Grimes, the splendid singing by Gerald Finley of Stanfords The Old Superb or Hickox’s conducting of the opening of the original version of William’s London Symphony.”

The Sunday Telegraph - 15 November 2009

“… The Schubert Ensemble have sifted his numerous chamber works and discovered four gems, all dating from the Forties onward when Martinu was fondly remembering his native land in exile. The players capture perfectly their naive tenderness.”

 Ivan Hewitt


The Telegraph - 14 November 2009

“… here are four appealing, accessible and strangely neglected works. The quartet for oboe, violin, cello and piano, the piano quartet, the piano trio and duo for violin and cello are all from Martinu’s American years and exude vigorous optimism – even jocosity in the oboe quartet. The players deliver these demanding and difficult to balance works with polished style.
  ****     Recording of the Fortnight


Classical Music Magazine - 21 November 2009

“The Schubert Ensemble offer elegant performances of these four small-scale works, allowing the music to make its own points rather than forcing the issue with Martinu’s sometimes enigmatic material. All in all this is a quietly satisfying release rather than an immediately gripping one, but none the worse for that.” 

Carl Rosman

International Record Review - November 2009

“The Schubert Ensemble Responds superbly to the Piano Quartet and the Trio with a clear sense of involvement in Martinu’s musical language and their performances of the slow movements are particularly memorable.”
Performance ****/Recording ****

Jan Smaczny

BBC Music Magazine - December 2009

S Freeman

J Pedley