Symphony No. 4 (Martinů)

The Symphony No. 4, H. 305, by Bohuslav Martinů was composed in New York City from April 1945, and completed at Martinů's summer home at Cape Cod in June 1945. The finale bears the inscription South Orleans, 14th June, 1945.[citation needed]

The work is in four movements and, according to the composer, grows out of a single motif.[1] The first movement alternates between lyrical and rhythmical material presented in variation. The second movement, in 6/8 time is a Scherzo, marked by a rhythmically irregular Dvořákian leading melody.[2] The slow third movement is dominated by the strings with short passagework for the woodwind. The finale is an energetic reworking of earlier material and concludes with a vibrant tutti.

The work is dedicated to his friends Helen and William Ziegler, and was premiered on 30 November 1945 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.


  1. Poco moderato
  2. Scherzo. Allegro vivo. Trio. Moderato
  3. Largo
  4. Poco allegro

Selected discographyEdit

Martinů's Fourth Symphony is found amongst the earliest extant recordings of Martinů symphonies in archival holdings. The earliest is Eugene Ormandy's recording of the Second Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra, made on 20 January 1945.[3] The Fourth Symphony followed soon after, with aircheck recordings on 78 rpm discs of a broadcast by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf, on WNBC (New York), 27 March 1948.[4] Neither of these recordings has ever been released commercially. Rafael Kubelik recorded the Fourth Symphony for the radio on 10 June 1948, and this recording was eventually given commercial release in 2012.[5]

Bohuslav Martinů Complete EditionEdit

In 2015, Sharon Andrea Choa's critical edition of the Symphony No. 4 was published by Bärenreiter within the Bohuslav Martinů Complete Edition.


  1. ^ Miloš Šafránek, Bohuslav Martinů, His Life and Works, translated by Roberta Finlayson-Samsourová (Prague: Artia; London: Allan Wingate, 1962): 242.
  2. ^ "Bohuslav Martinů - Symphony No.4, H.305 - Classical Archives". Retrieved Apr 3, 2020.
  3. ^ Bohuslav Martinů, II Symph[ony]. Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor. Eugene Ormandy Collection of Test Pressings and Private Recordings. Item 35. LP recording: Archival Material 1 sound disc: analog, 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in. University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library Collections. OCLC 155862048.
  4. ^ Bohuslav Martinů, Symphony No. 4. Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf, conductor. 78 RPM recording 4 sound discs, analog, 78 rpm, mono, 12 in. Recorded from radio program broadcast over station WNBC (New York, NY), 3:00 to 4:00 pm, March 27, 1948. [N.p.]: Rockhill Recording, 1948 OCLC 78330724.
  5. ^ Gary Lemco, "Classical Reissue Reviews: Great Czech Conductors: Rafael Kubelik". Audiophile Audition: Web Magazine for Music, Audio & Home Theater (7 June 2012, accessed 15 October 2012); Brian Reinhart, "Great Czech Conductors: Rafael Kubelík. SUPRAPHON SU 4080-2". Musicweb International (accessed 15 October 2012).

Further readingEdit

  • Crump, Michael David. 1986. "The Symphonies of Bohuslav Martinu: An Analytical Study". M.Litt. diss. Birmingham: University of Birmingham.
  • Crump, Michael. 2010. Martinů and the Symphony. Symphonic Studies, no. 3. London: Toccata Press. ISBN 9780907689652.
  • Evans, Peter. 1960. "Martinu the Symphonist". Tempo, new series, nos. 55–56 (Autumn–Winter): 19–26, 31–33.
  • Halbreich, Harry. 2007. Bohuslav Martinů: Werkverzeichnis und Biografie, second, revised edition. Mainz, London, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Paris, Prague, Tokyo, and Toronto: Schott. ISBN 9783795705657.
  • Layton, Robert. 1966. "Martinů and the Czech Tradition". In The Symphony: Vol. II: Elgar to the Present Day, edited by Robert Simpson, pp. 218–29. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Llade, Martín. 2009. "Las sinfonías de Bohuslav Martinů". Melómano: Revista de Música clásica 14, no. 144 (July–August): 58–62.
  • Powell, Larson. 2007. "Sound as Form: Martinů's Symphonies". Music and Society in Eastern Europe, no. 2 (December): 77–115.
  • Rathert, Wolfgang. 2009. "Die Sinfonien von Bohuslav Martinů: Ein Beitrag zur amerikanischen Musikgeschichte?" Musik-Konzepte neue Folge (November, special issue: Bohuslav Martinů), edited by Ulrich Tadday, 113–26. Munich: Edition Text + Kritik.