In a recent programme we looked at one of the CDs in the 'Gold Edition' of Supraphon re-releases commemorating Karel Ancerl's long stay at the Czech Philharmonic. Here we return to some more in the series.
We start with a recording celebrating the artistry of the great violinist Josef Suk, who is celebrating his 76th birthday on August 9. He is not to be confused with his grandfather, the composer of the same name (who was also Dvorak's son-in-law). In fact, the elder Josef Suk was also a fine violinist who played second violin in the Czech Quartet for 41 years. He wrote his gorgeous Fantasie in g minor for violin and orchestra in 1924. This is one of the highpoints on the CD, recorded by Suk and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Karel Ancerl in 1965.
Moving on to another in the series of Ancerl discs. This one features a piano concerto by one of the composer Josef Suk's students, Pavel Borkovec, who lived from 1894 till 1972, as well as violin and cello concertos by the German composer Paul Hindemith
Borkovec was strongly influenced by Suk early in his career, but later looked toward Stravinsky and Hindemith. You can hear that influence in his second piano concerto, from 1949-50, featured on the recording and performed by Antonin Jemelik. It is crisp and devoid of romanticism, almost astringent. The CD booklet has an interesting term for it: "modern civil emotionality". It is certainly a long way from Suk.
Also in the 'Gold Edition' series there is a marvellous CD of Josef Suk the younger performing music by his great-grandfather Antonin Dvorak, a chance to hear classic recordings of the Romance in f minor, Op. 11 and Dvorak's celebrated violin concerto.
CDs reviewed in this programme are provided by Siroky Dvur