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Josef Suk: Piano Quintet - Piano Quartet (2003)

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Josef Suk: Piano Quintet - Piano Quartet (2003)

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1. Piano Quartet in A minor Op. 1, I - Allegro Appassionato
2. Piano Quartet in A minor Op. 1, II - Adagio
3. Piano Quartet in A minor Op. 1, III - Allegro con Fuoco
4. Four pieces, Op. 17, I - Quasi Ballata
5. Four pieces, Op. 17, II - Appassionato play
6. Four pieces, Op. 17, III - Un poco triste
7. Four pieces, Op. 17, IV - Burlesca
8. Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 8, I - Allegro energico
9. Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 8, II - Adagio: Religioso
10. Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 8, III - Scherzo: Presto play
11. Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 8, IV - Allegro fuoco

The Nash Ensemble Marianne Thorsen (violin I) Benjamin Nabarro (violin II) Lawrence Power (viola) Paul Watkins (cello) Ian Brown (piano) 30 November & 1–2 December 2003, Henry Wood Hall, London


The music of Josef Suk, pupil of Dvorák and married to the elder composer’s daughter, is only now beginning to be recognized for its true worth. Presented here are three relatively early works, brimming with youthful enthusiasm but already showing considerable individuality, a highly developed approach to structure, and, occasionally, a touch of the melancholy introspection which was to inform many of the composer’s later works. A talented violinist, Suk lends to his chamber compositions a true understanding of the genre, while his thoroughly ‘Czech’ musical upbringing ensures strong representation for the folk and dance influences to be found in the music of many of his contemporaries. --Hyperion

In his later maturity, Suk’s muse was most often stirred by the prospect of a large orchestral canvas or music for piano. In his early years, however, when developing his own, ultimately highly distinctive style, the medium of choice was chamber music. His very first opus was a Piano Quartet, dedicated to his teacher and future father-in-law, Dvopák. It’s a characterful work with clear anticipations of Suk’s mature style, notably in the nocturne-like slow movement. Composed shortly after the Quartet, the Piano Quintet shows the extent to which his personal voice had crystallised in a matter of a couple of years, with the slow movement once again showing the true depths of which Suk was capable, even at this early stage. All of the performances on this excellently recorded disc are exemplary. The Nash Ensemble has long had a dedication to Czech music and the players’ innate understanding of the characteristic dynamics of its chamber repertoire pay huge dividends in the Piano Quartet and the at times curiously Impressionist Four Pieces for violin and piano. Still more impressive is their superb ensemble playing throughout the Piano Quintet, and it reaches the heights of eloquence in magnificent readings of the scherzo and finale. --BBC Music Magazine

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 20 May 2014 12:14)


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