General information
Title CZČtyři kusy bez názvu
Subtitle CZHry, první řada
Title ENFour Pieces without a Title
Subtitle ENGames, first series
Title DEVier Stücke ohne Titel
Subtitle DESpiele, erste Reihe
Title FRQuatre pièces sans titre
Subtitle FRJeux, première série
CategoryWorks for Keyboards
Halbreich number205
Parts of the composition (movements)1. Poco allegro; 2. Poco allegretto; 3. Allegretto; 4. Allegro
Durata6' 15''
Place of compositionParis
Year of origin1931
Initiation of composition1931
Completion of composition1931
First performance
Performer Karel Košárek
Košárek, Karel
Date of the first performance2003-07-26
Location of the first performanceČeský Krumlov, Czech Republic
Autograph deposition
InstitutionCzech Museum of Music
Deposition locationPrague
OwnerNational Museum – Czech Museum of Music, Department of Music History, Prague
CopyrightSchott Music Panton, Prague
References Related writings
Documents in the Library
Note Four Pieces without a Title. Probably the first series of the piano cycle Games (Hry). See H. 206.
About the composition

Martinů's piano cycle Jeux (Games), H 206, designated as Book II, was composed in Paris in the spring of 1931. Earlier in the same year, he had written four untitled pieces for piano that have many elements in common with Jeux, and Harry Halbreich, the author of the standard catalog of Martinů's works, decided to call them JeuxBook I with the catalog number H 205. This cycle, whose autograph is deposited in the Czech Museum of Music in Prague, has never been published. All four of its movements have a playful mood and show a typical alternation of measures with odd and even numbers of beats, which gives the music a special kind of rhythm. This together with fast tempos lends the first book a scherzo-like character. Similar in character is the second, six-movement series of Jeux, whose subtitle reads 'Six Simple Pieces for Piano'. This series, however, does not work with alternating meter and is built on tonality, on regular rhythms - at most syncopated and accented, as is so typical of Martinů - and more on motivic fragments than on fully-elaborated themes. It does not deny the influence of jazz, which was so popular in Paris at the time. The individual movements of this second cycle contrast with each other in tempo and dynamics, but all preserve their joking and playful character.

Lenka Foltýnová, programme of the Bohuslav Martinů Festival's concert, December 10, 2003

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