An Interview in English / USA 1942, durata 2:57

The core of the interview consists of B. Martinu’s describing the influence of Czech national music and English madrigals on his music, as well as his inspiration from Claude Debussy.

The recording of this radio interview was made by an anonymous American radio journalist.

Mr. Martinů, I suppose that is need from me to ask how you feel about being in the United States. But perhaps you would like to express yourself on that subject first.

BM: As a Czech I am in a practical sense a man without a country. It is one of few blessings left in life to find at least one place in the world where freedom exists for the artist and his art to survive. I cannot tell you what it means to have the privilege of being here in America with you.

And we cannot tell you how glad we are to have you here with us, Mr. Martinů. It is also especially gratifying that you can be present during this concert of your music to tell us something about your work in your own words. I noticed that your music is generally spoken of as having individualism. To what extent do you consider that’s true?

BM: It is very flattering, but I think it’s correct. However as you know a composer’s style can become influenced by many things.

Well, in your case, what have been the major influences?

BM: There seems to be three. First, I would say the national music of my own country, Czechoslovakia. The second comes from the English madrigal and third from Debussy.

That’s very interesting, especially about the English madrigal. When and how did you first become acquainted with that form of music?

BM: It was before the first world war, The English Madrigal Singers were in Praha and I heard them. Their songs were fascinating and made a great impression on me.

Was there any special  thing about them that attracted you?

BM: Yes, of course, I found great pleasure in the freedom of  their polyphony. It was very different from the polyphony of Bach; something entirely new to me. Besides, I recognized in those madrigals qualities that remind me of Czech folk music.

But what about Debussy, Mr. Martinů, what in his music did you most admire?

BM: Well, that is hard to say. Perhaps it was the colors, perhaps the spirit of the music. But of course I have in mind specially the Nocturnes.

What music of yours I have heard has all seem to be strongly rhytmical.

BM: That is because I am a Czech. The national music of Czechoslovakia is rythm. Strong, lithe rythm. Furthermore, I use Czech folk songs as themes or I create thematic material similar to them in style.

Which is all very clear in your music, Mr. Martinů and thank you very much for these revealing few moments with you.