Author Topic: Josef Suk 1875-1935  (Read 13203 times)

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sul G

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2009, 01:50:55 PM »
BTW, back when my score-setting was in the mid 50s on the 'mystery scores' thread (more than 400 scores ago!) I set a page of this Blind Musicians movement, an magical island of chamber intimacy in the centre of this massively orchestrated work. Here it is again:

Online Brian

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2009, 09:45:27 AM »
Gorgeous, isn't it? Like the still mysterious hub around which the rest revolves. Not that I have the problem you relate with the rest of the work. I understand it, however - it just seems to me to be more of an issue with, say Ripening or Epilogue, which are longer, less concise spans of music than A Summer's Tale. It's a piece which seems, to me, to wear its form lightly and in the most dazzling colours. (I don't hear it as Mahlerian, btw - by the time of A Summer's Tale Suk was one of the few composers of his late-Romantic ilk to have discovered a truly personal, instantly recognisable style, and I think he goes beyond the stage of needing to be referred to in terms of any one else!  :) )
Well in that case, I have to listen again with open ears.  :)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2010, 06:20:37 PM »
Very surprised that there has not, as far as I can see, been a thread devoted to this great composer. I have just bought the new excellent CD of Suk's magnificent 'Asrael Symphony' (see below). This is Suk's masterpiece, inspired by the death of his father-in-law, Dvorak and the death of his young wife, Otylka. In many ways it is a very tragic work, quite Mahlerian in places, which eventually arrives at a kind of fragile acceptance of fate, which is deeply moving. Suk's other works are of a uniformly high standard (including some lovely chamber works), but Asrael stands head and shoulders above everything else:

I have listened to Suk on/off for about a year now and each time I return to his music I gain a greater appreciation for what it is his music is about and what it is he's trying to express. His music is deeply personal and, like "Asrael," it often has a very tragic nature to it unless we're talking about lighter fare like "Fairy Tale" or "Fantasticke Scherzo," which reflect Suk in a brighter mood. One of my favortie works is "A Summer's Tale," which is just gorgeous.
 
I only have a 4-CD box set on Supraphon that is really good and I just ordered (the other day) a 2-CD set of "Asrael Symphony" and "A Summer's Tale" with Libor Pesek and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Virgin, which came highly recommended to me from another Suk fan.
 
I guess we do have similar tastes, Vandermolen.  ;D
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline Daverz

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2010, 08:31:00 PM »
The best Asrael I know is Kubelik.  Simply miles ahead of the others I've heard (Pesek, Neumann, Ashkenazy, Flor) in terms of color and character.   That this recording is inaccessible is very frustrating (I only have an "illicit" 320 kbps download I got some years ago.)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2010, 08:32:26 PM »
That this recording is inaccessible is very frustrating (I only have an "illicit" 320 kbps download I got some years ago.)

Then why lead me on with false hope? :D

"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline Daverz

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2010, 09:24:31 PM »
Then why lead me on with false hope? :D

I like to share the suffering. 

Perversely, I forgot the Talich recording.  I wouldn't put Kubelik above it but for the "historical" sound.

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2010, 02:10:00 AM »
I have the Kubelik Asrael Symphony (are you surprised? ;D). As it has disappeared I am happy to do a copy (or more accurately, get my daughter to do it). If you PM me.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

karlhenning

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2010, 11:30:35 AM »
Here I am, late to another party.  But I am listening at last today to the Ashkenazy/Helsinki Phil recording of Asrael which Jeffrey cites in the OP. Marvelous piece!  And if there is anything "flaccid" about the first movement, I missed it . . . .

. . . and I just ordered (the other day) a 2-CD set of "Asrael Symphony" and "A Summer's Tale" with Libor Pesek and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Virgin, which came highly recommended to me from another Suk fan.

I picked that up at an FYE yesterday for $12, and I am looking foward to cracking it open tomorrow.

Offline MDL

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2010, 01:21:49 PM »
I fell in love with Asrael, Ripening and Summer's Tale but have yet to come to terms with Epilogue. I've got the Pesek and Neumann recordings, but it remains a closed book to me still.


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2010, 08:58:34 PM »
I picked that up at an FYE yesterday for $12, and I am looking foward to cracking it open tomorrow.

Let me know how it is, Karl. I haven't even listened to it yet and it's been how many months since I made that post that stated I had bought this 2-CD set? :D ;) So much to listen to, so little time.
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

karlhenning

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2010, 04:28:25 AM »
I did listen to the Asrael yesterday. On the whole, very good. There was the odd moment when I heard that the Liverpool brass weren't as on top of it as the Helsinki Phil, but nothing fatal.

Will listen to A Summer's Tale later today.

Offline MDL

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2010, 09:32:34 AM »
The best Asrael I know is Kubelik.  Simply miles ahead of the others I've heard (Pesek, Neumann, Ashkenazy, Flor) in terms of color and character.   That this recording is inaccessible is very frustrating (I only have an "illicit" 320 kbps download I got some years ago.)

I got to know Asrael through Pesek's recording, so was surprised by Kubelik's version of the second movement; Pesek maintains a steady pace, whereas Kubelik pulls back each time the pizzicato strings reach the highest note of their slow march rhythm (at about 2 mins 45 secs). I'm playing Belohlavek's recording now and can perhaps detect a very subtle halting, but nothing like Kubelik's slam-on-the-brakes-for-a-moment.

It's the one part of Kubelik's performance that I don't like, having been used to Pesek's unwavering tread. But perhaps that was the composer's intention. I certainly wouldn't know.

Offline Luke

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2010, 11:14:01 AM »
I got to know Asrael through Pesek's recording, so was surprised by Kubelik's version of the second movement; Pesek maintains a steady pace, whereas Kubelik pulls back each time the pizzicato strings reach the highest note of their slow march rhythm (at about 2 mins 45 secs). I'm playing Belohlavek's recording now and can perhaps detect a very subtle halting, but nothing like Kubelik's slam-on-the-brakes-for-a-moment.

It's the one part of Kubelik's performance that I don't like, having been used to Pesek's unwavering tread. But perhaps that was the composer's intention. I certainly wouldn't know.

It's not in the score, anyway.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2011, 01:43:51 PM »
Just a brief plug for the late Charles Mackerras' recently released recording of Suk's 'Asrael' on Supraphon (from two live recordings in Prague during 2007). It is a great performance, slightly understated at times, but all the more affecting for it. The slow movement is the most moving I have heard and the recording generally excellent. A moving tribute to a great conductor (this is the last Mackerrras recording to be released on Supraphon).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Daverz

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2011, 02:26:21 PM »
Just a brief plug for the late Charles Mackerras' recently released recording of Suk's 'Asrael' on Supraphon (from two live recordings in Prague during 2007). It is a great performance, slightly understated at times, but all the more affecting for it. The slow movement is the most moving I have heard and the recording generally excellent. A moving tribute to a great conductor (this is the last Mackerrras recording to be released on Supraphon).

Just listened to this yesterday and concur.  The sound isn't as impressive as some of the recent SACDs of this work, but none of the orchestras in those recent recordings can touch the Czech Philharmonic.

Offline Grazioso

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2011, 05:31:56 AM »
FWIW, very positive review of a new Suk disc:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=13285
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #36 on: April 06, 2011, 05:38:49 AM »
Suk appears to have passed into the noteworthy (pun!) realm of those composers who hardly ever get played live, but get lots of attention from the recording companies. This is progress of a sort, because more people will notice his works and have access to them. We can only hope that the live scene will be influenced.

Sadly, he didn't even seem to get played much in Prague when I was there. I hope things are different now.
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Offline Grazioso

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2011, 05:53:41 AM »
Suk appears to have passed into the noteworthy (pun!) realm of those composers who hardly ever get played live, but get lots of attention from the recording companies. This is progress of a sort, because more people will notice his works and have access to them. We can only hope that the live scene will be influenced.

Sadly, he didn't even seem to get played much in Prague when I was there. I hope things are different now.

I hope his Czech peer Novak gets more attention, as well. Some really fine Late Romantic music, but recordings are thin.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2011, 02:35:21 PM »
I hope his Czech peer Novak gets more attention, as well. Some really fine Late Romantic music, but recordings are thin.

Novak is one of my favourite composers - especially his epic cantata 'The Storm'. I hope that the May Symphony is receorded one day. I also like the South Bohemian Suite, De Profundis and Eight Nocturnes for Voice and Orchestra - the last of which 'Christchild's Lullaby' is absolutely beautiful and very moving. There is some excellent chamber music including the Piano Quintet.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Re: Josef Suk 1875-1935
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2011, 09:26:21 AM »
What about Suk's chamber music? Any recommends to look out for?

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