“More than fifty years after his death, Bohuslav Martinů’s music remains inexplicably neglected,” writes Lawrence A. Johnson on Monday (7/4) at theclassicalreview.com. “Carlos Kalmar led the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus in Martinů’s The Epic of Gilgamesh on … Friday night at the Pritzker Pavilion.” The 50-minute oratorio “is based on ancient tales of the title Sumerian king of Uruk. In these mythic fables, Gilgamesh is an oppressive swine of a semi-god. The gods send the equally cretinous Enkidu to distract him from continuing to do, what Kalmar termed in his introduction, some ‘not very nice things.’… The music Martinů composed to depict this bizarro Babylonian bromance is never less than compelling and often magnificent. Scored for four soloists, large double chorus and orchestra, the score is as varied and finely crafted as Martinů’s (somewhat) more familiar works.… Give all credit to Kalmar for not only pulling this sprawling score together but for putting it across with such passion and conviction. The varied beauties of the score were conveyed throughout by the superb playing of the Grant Park Orchestra, from the mystery of the introduction to the battle between Gilgamesh and Enkidu, and the climactic final section for chorus and soloists.”

Posted July 6, 2016