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David Hurwitz, June 2020

MARTINU, B.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 6 8.553348
MARTINU: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4 8.553349
MARTINU: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5 8.553350

This is a bolder, more hard-hitting, sort of gutsier cycle…the sound is quite good, the performances are first-rate in every way and you simply can’t go wrong. © 2020 Watch review

American Record Guide, June 2002

"As in previous installments in this series, Maestro Fagen demonstrates his sensitivity to the seething emotions and drama inherent in these magnificent symphonies. His Ukrainian orchestra plays with the unmistakable authority and confidence of a band of Czech natives. ...and Naxos again supplies clear, meticulously balanced, and utterly honest recorded sound."

Michael Oliver
Gramophone, April 2002

"...The Ukraine orchestra is a very fine one and Arthur Fagen a gifted and imaginative conductor... What I particularly enjoyed about these two readings is the combination of an orchestra that clearly enjoys producing a big and sumptious sound with a conductor who knows that in this music bones are as important as flesh... Neither performance is unworthy, both are richly and spaciously recorded, and at a fraction of the price of most of their rivals their value is obvious."

David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, March 2002

"Each work provides a different struggle between hope and fear, nostalgia and anguish, so Naxos and Fagen put a wide listenership in their debt by making the full story available at bargain price."

Jonnathan Woolf
MusicWeb International

This is the final release in Naxos's Martinu Symphonic cycle and the first I've heard. It's excellent news that an inexpensive series exists - the Martinu discography is notoriously changeable - because this is a body of work that deserves close and consistently involved scrutiny. In the 3rd Symphony [...] Fagen piles on huge dark sonorities - most impressive in its way but emerging as generic and gestural. Nevertheless it's good to hear the clarity of Martinu's favoured orchestral piano for once. Fagen's flautist is straight here with some nice plinking accompaniment [...] . The succeeding fugal section [...] is more of a romanticised interlude, rather inaptly sitting on the fabric of the music - a syntactical error, I think. [...] Fagen is too fitful, too impassive [...] and insufficiently determined to delineate Martinu's multifaceted writing.

What is true of the 3rd is truer of the 5th. [...] In the final movement [...Fagen...] employs a subtle range of dynamics here, well caught by the engineers, and is excellent at bringing out the composer's bluffness, especially in the transition passage to the allegro [...]. Fagen ends well, capturing the rather abrupt and disconcerting conclusion with real understanding.

[Fagen's...] is a cogent and cohesive traversal of these symphonies [...]. Fagen is a sensitive and sensible guide - these are certainly not shattering accounts but they are more than merely worthwhile.

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