Author Topic: Asrael  (Read 3724 times)

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Offline The new erato

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Asrael
« on: May 27, 2007, 11:49:36 PM »
With the tremendous amount of postings re all things Mahler, how come nobody EVER mentions the Asrael Symphony by Josef Suk? Originally planned as a tribute to his father-in-law, Dvorak, who died in 1904, it took on a deeper meaning after Suk's own wife died in 1905. A long work, around 60 minutes, for large orchestra and in 5 movements, with drama and tragedy all over - named after the Muslim Angel of Death, this is EXACTLY the thing Mahler fanatics would love. I am listening to RLPO/Pesek on Virgin now, very fine recording.

Harry

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007, 11:52:25 PM »
I have the same recording, and also a old one from Neumann, which I bought years ago.
Josef Suk is and was always high on my list, and I have most Orchestral works from him.
A voice not to ignore.

Offline Grazioso

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2007, 02:33:45 AM »
With the tremendous amount of postings re all things Mahler, how come nobody EVER mentions the Asrael Symphony by Josef Suk? Originally planned as a tribute to his father-in-law, Dvorak, who died in 1904, it took on a deeper meaning after Suk's own wife died in 1905. A long work, around 60 minutes, for large orchestra and in 5 movements, with drama and tragedy all over - named after the Muslim Angel of Death, this is EXACTLY the thing Mahler fanatics would love. I am listening to RLPO/Pesek on Virgin now, very fine recording.

I have to disagree and call it an overrated, boring work. In my experience, Suk is basically two composers: before the deaths of Dvorak and Suk's wife, Suk wrote gloriously melodic music suffused with that trademark Czech warmth, pieces like the Serenade, Fairy Tale, Fantastic Scherzo, and so forth. Then, after his personal tragedies, came the bloated symphonies/symphonic poems (Asrael, The Ripening, etc.) with their forgettable melodic material. As someone who loves both Mahler and a lot of Suk, I've yet to find Asrael worth my while, despite multiple patient listens. And Asreal is certainly not in the same league as Mahler, or even close.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2007, 02:36:10 AM by Grazioso »
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PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2007, 03:54:51 AM »
I agree with Grazioso. I also have the Neumann recording FWIW. I love Mahler, and I think Asrael is not musically very interesting. It just sounds bloated and nothing else. Anyone can write a 60 minute symphony, but no one writes a 60 minute symphony like Mahler.

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2007, 05:18:49 AM »
I happened to hear Asrael on the radio last night and was mightily impressed.

Offline david johnson

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2007, 05:52:27 AM »
my cd is: Kirill Petrenko/Berlin Comic Opera Orchestra

i don't listen to it often, but it isn't bad.

dj

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2007, 12:00:32 PM »
I find it a moving, powerful,tragic yet consoling work; Suk's masterpiece, although he wrote some fine chamber music. I have several recordings of Asrael, including excellent ones from Kubelik, Belohlavek and Neumann.

if you like this score (and clearly not everyone here does), I'd recommend music by his contemporary Novak, especially his magnificent cantata "The Storm", which cries out for a modern recording.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Todd

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2007, 04:03:19 AM »
Asrael is a fine work.  I have the Pesek / Virgin and Neumann / Supraphon recordings, and prefer the former.  It has a granduer and power the earlier recording doesn't have.  Still need to try Kubelik.  As a symphony, it doesn't really compare to Mahler's best works, but then most other symphonies don't either.  Personally, I think Suk's finest orchestral work is A Summer's Tale.  Wonderful stuff.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2007, 04:43:30 AM »
Asrael is a fine work.  I have the Pesek / Virgin and Neumann / Supraphon recordings, and prefer the former.  It has a granduer and power the earlier recording doesn't have.  Still need to try Kubelik.  As a symphony, it doesn't really compare to Mahler's best works, but then most other symphonies don't either.  Personally, I think Suk's finest orchestral work is A Summer's Tale.  Wonderful stuff.

I agree that the Pesek is very fine but Kubelik is the best I think.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Grazioso

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2007, 02:48:41 AM »
I find it a moving, powerful,tragic yet consoling work; Suk's masterpiece, although he wrote some fine chamber music. I have several recordings of Asrael, including excellent ones from Kubelik, Belohlavek and Neumann.

if you like this score (and clearly not everyone here does), I'd recommend music by his contemporary Novak, especially his magnificent cantata "The Storm", which cries out for a modern recording.

Other Novak well worth hearing--and at times his music is more immediately evocative of Mahler--includes Lady Godiva and Pan.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Online Sergeant Rock

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Re: Asrael
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2007, 05:41:47 AM »
This came in the mail today:



Hurwitz gave it a 10 for performance. He says, "Talich was a close friend of Josef Suk, and his recordings of Asrael and Ripening remain the benchmarks by which all others should be measured."  Full review here at ClassicsToday.

I don't know if that's true or just one man's opinion. I'll listen tonight and compare it with the other versions I own.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"