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Enkidu lies on his bed till the twelfth day, when he dies. Gilgamesh bitterly laments his friend, ranging far over the desert in his loneliness and understanding that the fate of Enkidu awaits him too [listen -- track 18, 0:00-1:05]. Having failed to discover any secret of eternal life, in Part 3 Gilgamesh pleads that it is only the earth that holds Enkidu, and in a powerful invocation bids his friend arise from the dead. God allows the spirit of Enkidu to appear through a cleft in the ground, as the Speaker narrates [listen -- track 28, 0:00-1:00]. Enkidu, no longer a tenor but a bass, tells of those he has seen in the underworld, ending his mournful catalogue with him 'whose ghost hath none to tend'. There the work ends, the more impressive for offering Gilgamesh not a shred of comfort and for allowing him no comment on the fate he knows for certain will be his. The performance under Zdenek Kosler admirably explores the depth of meaning Martinu revealed in the ancient tale, enshrined in choral and orchestral sounds of remarkable imagination and strength.

Copyright © 11 August 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK


Martinu: The Epic of Gilgamesh

8.555138 DDD Stereo REISSUE 55'31" 2002 HNH International Ltd

Ivan Kusnjer, baritone, Stefan Margita, tenor, Ludek Vele, bass, Eva Depoltová, soprano, Milan Karpisek, speaker, Slovak Philharmonic Choir (Chorus Master Pavel Procházka), Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Zdenek Kosler

Part I: Gilgamesh; Part II: The Death of Enkidu; Part III:Invocation




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