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Primroses are known in Czech villages and farms as ‘St Peter’s keys’, because they unlock the countryside from winter. The opening sequence here is devoted to them, expressing the return of life. Poignantly, these were written as Martinů felt the first frosts of death approaching, and their simplicity and directness also carry some of the sorrow of imminent passing. There are tinges, here and there, that remind us of mortality as well. The Jitro Czech Girls Choir is the ideal vehicle for this music. The clarity and unadorned simplicity of diction makes the occasional darker tone all the more powerful, though the most consistent impression is of optimism and youth.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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