Despite the extraordinary significance attributed to Bohuslav Martinů's 14 short piano pieces entitled Puppets, surprisingly little is known about the exact time and circumstances of their composition. It is however certain that these are the first works by Martinů which transcended his initial attempts at composition and they quickly found a publisher. Thanks to their lasting popularity particularly with young pianists, they were published in numerous editions. The pieces take the characters of Italian commedia dell 'arte as their theme; Pierrot, Colombine and Harlequin. Also included are dance and ball scenes, as well as scenes from the "private lives" of the puppets. The three editions of Puppets were composed between 1912 and 1925 in reverse order (Puppets III came before Puppets I). The works all differ from one another, beginning with different aesthetic starting points and ending with piano writing which gradually matures. Now the cycle is published for the first time in one volume.
Book 1 contains: Columbine Dances, The New Puppet, The Shy Puppet, Fairy Tale and The Puppets' Dance
Book 2 contains: Puppet Theatre, Harlequin, Colombine Remembers, The Sick Puppet and Colombine Sings
Book 3 contains: Pierrot's Serenade, Waltz of the Sentimental Puppet, Colombine, and Puppet's Ball