Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Suk, a Czech worth checking out

Condemned to a life as a footnote in musical dictionaries for decades, Josef Suk (1874-1935) finally gets the attention he deserves in recent years. He was Dvorak's son-in-law, and grandfather of the famous violin player of the same name. His music is late-romantic with a dash of impressionism, which particularly shines through in his long symphonic poems. His second symphony, titled Asrael, is his masterpiece, one of my all-time favourites in the genre, but unfortunately not available on Naxos. I have chosen the disc which contains one of his best symphonic poems (Pohadka or Fairy Tale), coupled with two other substantial works (the Fantasy for violin and orchestra, and the Fantastic Scherzo). Excellent performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta, with Michael Ludwig as the soloist. Suk is a composer that has never disappointed me, and that should be represented in any decent classical music collection.