A Word of Introduction (1995)
Bohuslav Martinu has been an extraordinary phenomenon within the realm of Czech music. Along with Smetana, Dvorak and Janacek, Martinu belongs to the "golden treasure" of Czech national identity. For as much as his music, bound to the popular speech of our "old-time folks", traditional men and women from Martinu's beloved region of the Czech Highlands, is able to retain the spirit of Czech and Moravian folk songs, there is still something more to be found in the composer's masterpieces. There is a universal quality to them, one based on experiences of a citizen of the world, that takes Martinu's work beyond patriotic folklore.
Martinu left his native country for reasons other than "betrayal" which was the explanation of the former regime. He left in order to further improve the "diamonds" of his work.
There is much to be improved upon in our treatment of this artist, too, in order to make up for the past injustices. This is one of the goals of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation in Prague, established by his widow, Mrs. Charlotte Martinu, as well as to make the artist's work more broadly known and promoted not only in our country but also abroad.
The international activities of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation's Study Center in Prague (now Bohuslav Martinů Institue), established in order to fulfill the above-mentioned aims of the Foundation, shall assist in the exploration, promotion and performance of the composer's collected works, as well as to a better understanding of Martinu's figure and his life both in his native country and abroad.
It is our intent to introduce our audience to the author's work systematically through a number of concerts and festivals devoted to Martinu. The Bohuslav Martinu Festival 1995 marks the inauguration of our programme.
The openness and accessibility of Bohuslav Martinu's music are its undeniable features. It is our hope, therefore, that the public will not only fully comprehend "The Opening of the Wells", but also the composer's large symphonic works.
I wish the audience a most enjoyable experience.
Dr. Viktor Kalabis (1923-2006)
Former President of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation in Prague