Bohuslav Martinů’s Échec au Roi
Jiří Bělohlávek, Prague Symphony Orchestra
So now it’s interesting to know that there are two ballets essentially called ‘Checkmate’! Which came first: the Bliss or the Martinů? Well, the Martinů dates from 1930; the Bliss from 1937. There is no suggestion that the one is derived from, or inspired by, the other! But as a long-time fan of the Bliss ballet, it is a bit of revelation to discover the same sort of subject being addressed nearly a decade earlier by someone from a completely different composing tradition.