Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 10
The greatest Czech artists have recorded this music, but they yield surprisingly little to JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo players. If perhaps the winds aren’t quite as characterful as their Bohemian colleagues, Falletta ensures that the performances have just as much energy and rhythmic snap. In Fairy Tale, a gorgeously romantic work as substantial as a symphony, The Game of Swans and Peacocks has all the bounce of a Slavonic Dance, while the large outer movements are beautifully shaped and exquisitely played.
Just as Fairy Tale might pass for a four-movement symphony, so the Fantasy is every bit as serious and cogent as a major violin concerto (though it has only one long movement). It’s as big as, say, the Bruch G minor, perfectly proportioned, and like all of the music on this disc its neglect is simply incomprehensible. Michael Ludwig remains an impressive soloist; he has a big enough tone to do the lyrical moments justice, and plenty of dexterity in the flashy bits. He and Falletta make the ending memorably exciting.
The Fantastic Scherzo is a masterpiece of atmosphere and melody–like so much of Suk’s music, the bitter-sweetness of its main ideas will stay with you for days. It’s quite wonderfully played here: crisp and lively. Really, Falletta’s performance is as good as any, and extremely well recorded too. It’s so important that this wonderful music gets played by non-native musicians; it’s the only way that it stands a chance of entering the standard repertoire, where it so obviously ought to be. Projects like this deserve your support, and will reward your time and attention many times over. Strongly recommended.
Buy Now from Arkiv Music
Recording Details:Reference Recording: Fairy Tale: Pesek, Fantasy: Suk/Ancerl (Supraphon)
JOSEF SUK - Fairy Tale; Fantasy in G minor; Fantastic Scherzo