Author Topic: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording  (Read 1106 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« on: July 20, 2019, 10:20:51 PM »
I've been listening to this magnificent work recently. Whilst being cognisant of the point made by aukhawk on the Britten's War Requiem thread that this can easily turn into a 'what recordings are available?' discussion I'd still be interested to know if there is a particular recording that you recommend. Below is the one that I've been very impressed with recently:

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Daverz

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2019, 01:06:32 AM »
Lately I've been listening to Belohlavek's third and last recording, which is excellent.  The Ancerl recording is truly special, and is in good stereo, though when the bass drum comes in with a lame thud (the fault of the mic setup, I think), you are reminded you can't always have everything.  A dark horse I really like is the Kirill Petrenko recording.  And if you are really obsessed with this work, you should have the historical Talich.







« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 08:54:16 AM by Daverz »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2019, 04:55:22 AM »
I don't have many recordings (Pesek, Talich, Flor) but after reading the 10/10 review by the Hurwitzer, buying the CD and listening to it, I'm convinced Flor's is one of the great performances.

"The Malaysian Philharmonic plays like a pack of demons, and the sonics, as usual from this source, are world-class. What a great piece, and what a great performance!" --Classics Today.




Sarge
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Offline Daverz

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2019, 09:31:34 AM »
I listened again to the Talich and Ancerl last night. 

The Talich is truly historical, unfortunately with a limited recording.  I have it on an older CD, and haven't tried the later "Talich Edition" CD I linked to.

I think the disappointing bass drum in the Ancerl was the result of purposeful gain riding for the radio recording.  Otherwise the sound quality is truly excellent, and Ancerl manages to get excellent playing and -- by some kind of magic -- an authentic sound from the Baden Baden orchestra.  Since you already have a modern recording with a properly terrifying bass drum, it's this one I recommend for an "important historical document" that also happens to be very enjoyable sonically and very well played.

My second recommendation would be the Belohlavek/Decca for his last thoughts on the work and the sound of the CzPO in the Rudolfinum with the best possible sonics.  If you want to treat yourself with another modern recording.

Ones I haven't listened to recently: Flor, Ashkenazy, Svetlanov (a friend recommended it to me), Kubelik (a 320 kbps rip I got from somewhere).  I remember finding the Kubelik very colorful and Ashkenazy colorless.  I think Pesek and Neumann were OK back in the day, but can't compete with more recent recordings.

As you may have surmised, I collect recordings of this work and am a bit obsessed with it.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 10:45:33 AM by Daverz »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2019, 10:35:55 AM »
Thanks so much all of you for all the responses which I've read with great interest. Like Sarge I listened to the Flor, Malaysian BIS recording last night, which I found very powerful and moving - one of the most interesting recordings of recent years. The Talich is a great classic of course but I haven't listened to it for a long time, so I must renew my acquaintance with it. The new Belholavec has had great reviews. I haven't heard it. I do have his Chandos recording which is fine plus a Supraphon recording (I think) coupled interestingly with Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, which is one of my favourites of his works. It was strange that Ancerl had not conducted Asrael before. I have mislaid my copy of that CD ( ::)) but remember being very impressed with it. I look forward to finding it! The Petrenko is completely unknown to me. Anyone else heard the Mackerras or Ashkenazy for that matter?
Thanks again.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2019, 10:44:13 AM »
I listened again to the Talich and Ancerl last night. 

The Talich is truly historical, unfortunately with a limited recording.  I have it on an older CD, and haven't tried the later "Talich Edition" CD I linked to.

I think the disappointing bass drum in the Ancerl was the result of purposeful gain riding for the radio recording.  Otherwise the sound quality is truly excellent, and Ancerl manages to get excellent playing and -- by some kind of magic -- an authentic sound from the Baden Baden orchestra.  Since you already have modern recording with a properly terrifying bass drum, it's this one I recommend for an "important historical document" that also happens to be very enjoyable sonically and very well played.

My second recommendation would be the Belohlavek/Decca for his last thoughts on the work and the sound of the CzPO in the Rudolfinum with the best possible sonics.  If you want to treat yourself with another modern recording.

Ones I haven't listened to recently: Flor, Ashkenazy, Svetlanov (a friend recommended it to me), Kubelik (a 320 kbps rip I got from somewhere).  I remember finding the Kubelik very colorful and Ashkenazy colorless.  I think Pesek and Neumann were OK back in the day, but can't compete with more recent recordings.

As you may have surmised, I collect recordings of this work and am a bit obsessed with it.
I'm also obsessed with it. Thanks  8)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Daverz

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2019, 12:15:06 PM »
Listened to the Svetlanov (rec. 1993)



The sound is reticent, and the playing seems stiff and lacking in coherence and color.

On to Flor...

Since you indicated that you did have the Ancerl, I would add the Belohlavek/Decca. 

I do have the Mackerras and will have to re-acquaint myself with it.  My memory is that is as excellent as one would suppose.  And my memory of the recording is that while the Supraphon recording is good, it is the typical Supraphon sound in the Rudolfinum.  Decca gets better sound from that hall.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 12:23:05 PM by Daverz »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2019, 12:23:13 PM »
Listened to the Svetlanov (rec. 1993)



The sound is reticent, and the playing seems stiff and lacking in coherence and color.

On to Flor...
Let us know what you think of the Flor. I have the Svetlanov as well but don't recall that it made much impression on me. I realise that I do have the Petrenko as it appears to have been issued previously with a different cover image. Have you heard the Mackerras? Yes you have! The Decca Belholavek looks to be of great interest.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 12:30:29 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Daverz

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2019, 12:29:21 PM »
Let us know what you think of the Flor. I have the Svetlanov as well but don't recall that it made much impression on me. I realise that I do have the Petrenko as it appears to have been issued previously with a different cover image.

Yes, they reissued all his Suk recordings in a box when the announcement was made about his appointment to the BPO.

Quote
Have you heard the Mackerras?

It's been a while.  I added some general comments below.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2019, 12:42:16 PM »
I will be listening to the last Bělohlávek in the next few days, thanks to a pal in Prague. Until then, have only heard the Pešek, which is wonderful.

In any case, following the comments with interest.

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2019, 01:04:40 PM »
Have ordered the new Belholavec. Should arrive tomorrow.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline André

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2019, 08:06:04 AM »
I have Neumann, which I like very much. The Flor and Petrenko seem very enticing!


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2019, 12:41:01 PM »
I have Neumann, which I like very much. The Flor and Petrenko seem very enticing!


That's a fine set. The new Belholavec arrived today and it is a fine, well-recorded and deeply felt recording. I can't imagine anyone who wanted a modern recording of Suk's 'Asrael Symphony' being disappointed with it. This, the Flor, Ancerl and Mackerras have been rewarding recent discoveries.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 12:42:53 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2019, 12:44:51 PM »
And I have Kubelík (Bavarian Radio SO, 1981; Panton),  Pešek (Royal Liverpudlians, 1991; Virgin) and Bělohlávek (Czech Philharmonic, 1992; Chandos) and don't know, which to choose. Please tell me.  ???
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2019, 11:46:24 PM »
And I have Kubelík (Bavarian Radio SO, 1981; Panton),  Pešek (Royal Liverpudlians, 1991; Virgin) and Bělohlávek (Czech Philharmonic, 1992; Chandos) and don't know, which to choose. Please tell me.  ???
Haha. The Kubelik gets fabulous review. I have it but have not played it for ages and must rectify that soon. I have all the others as well.  ::)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline mjwal

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2019, 07:50:53 AM »
I have no favourite recording of the Asrael symphony, vandermolen - I do not know it well enough - but I do have a great live conducted by Ancerl 1971 w/Cleveland SO, which I found on the net some time ago - if I knew how to put digital files up on the net for you to download, I would - I can't locate my source, probably gone like all good things...
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2019, 09:57:06 AM »
I have no favourite recording of the Asrael symphony, vandermolen - I do not know it well enough - but I do have a great live conducted by Ancerl 1971 w/Cleveland SO, which I found on the net some time ago - if I knew how to put digital files up on the net for you to download, I would - I can't locate my source, probably gone like all good things...
Thanks. I'm pleased to say that I found my copy of the recently released Ancerl performance, which is one of the best I think, notwithstanding the distant recording of the doom-laden drums at the end of the first movement.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Daverz

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2019, 10:25:10 AM »
Thanks. I'm pleased to say that I found my copy of the recently released Ancerl performance, which is one of the best I think, notwithstanding the distant recording of the doom-laden drums at the end of the first movement.

Yes, one will need to supplement with a recording with a bass drum that instills the proper amount of terror, either of the beating wings of the Angel of Death or of noise complaints from the neighbors.

Offline André

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2019, 10:30:29 AM »
The Flor/BIS and Neumann/Supraphon have a good bass drum (among other things  ;)). My preference is for Neumann’s ironfisted interpretation.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Suk's Asrael Symphony: favourite recording
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2019, 10:39:34 AM »
Thanks guys  :)
I must have at least eight recordings of the work so I'm sure that I can find one with a suitably ominous bass-drum I recall that the Mackerras recording features one.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).