Josef Suk: Violin recital

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

This disc makes a fine tribute to Josef Suk, one of the finest violinists of our time, who’s 75 years old this year and still going strong. It’s something of a family affair, given the fact that he is the great-grandson of Dvorák and the grandson of the composer Josef Suk, and while this doesn’t invariably guarantee authoritative performances, all of the music-making here is outstanding. The performances date from the period 1963-72, but in all cases the sonics are consistently excellent, with realistic timbres and natural balances, with Suk’s scrupulous taste and idiomatic sense of style (as with his keyboard colleagues) effortlessly projected in each work.

In fact, you won’t find better versions of any of this music on disc. Suk perfectly captures the innocent freshness of Dvorák’s Sonatina (not such a small work after all), offering a particularly gorgeous account of the second-movement Larghetto. He positively revels in the melodic lushness of the Romantic Pieces, and characterizes Suk’s brooding Four Pieces for Violin and Piano with obvious relish. This last work really deserves to be better known: check out the harmonically adventurous opening Quasi ballata, or the spiky Burleska conclusion. Framed by two charming ethnic miniatures, Smetana’s From the Homeland and Dvorák’s Slavonic Dance No. 2 (in the composer’s own arrangement), this collection delivers unalloyed pleasure from beginning to end. [9/13/2004]

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: All Works: This One

ANTONIN DVORÁK - Sonatina; Romantic Pieces; Slavonic Dance No. 2
JOSEF SUK - Ballade in D minor; Four pieces
BEDRICH SMETANA - From the Homeland

  • Josef Suk (violin)
    Jan Panenka, Alfréd Holecek (piano)

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