Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Josef Suk Plays Mendelssohn and Bruch

This is my Tuesday Blog post from January 13, 2015.

We are now well-engaged in a month-long theme on the Tuesday and Friday blog exploring the music of Felix Mendelssohn, and this week we turn to his great violin concerto in E Minor.

I have several versions of this concerto in my collection featuring soloists like Kyung-Wha Chung (featured on a past Blog and Podcast), Leila Josefowicz, Michael Rabin, Frank-Peter Zimmermann and the one I am sharing with you today by Czech violinist Josef Suk.

Josef Suk (1929 – 2011) has an impressive lineage - he is the grandson of Josef Suk, himself composer and violinist, and great-grandson of Antonín Dvořák. Such big shoes to fill, and what pressure must have been put on him! Ultimately, Suk earned himself the distinction of National Artist - not too shabby!

After finishing high school in 1945 he entered the Prague conservatoire (1945-1951), where his teachers were Jaroslav Kocian, Norbert Kubát and Karel Šnebergr. Followed stints with the Prague quartet and the orchestra of the National theatre in Prague in principal chairs. Shortly after a 1954 recital in Prague, George Szell invited him to the USA to play with the Cleveland orchestra. In 1958 he performed in Germany, Netherlands and Romania, then also in France and Belgium. In 1961 he toured as a soloist with the Czech Philharmonic with whom he began to record many of the great concertos of the repertoire for the Czech label Supraphon.

Suk was appreciated for the purity of his tone, his self-effacing musicianship – displaying no technical bravado unless it served the music – and an astonishing command of the instrument.

Today's recording is a re-issue of the Mendelssohn-Bruch pairing so many other artists have made through the years. Suk approaches the works with such applomb that he makes them sound so, so smooth... I truly enjoy this recording and I hope you will too!

Max BRUCH (1838 – 1920)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26

Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

Josef Suk, violin
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Karel Ancerl, conductor
Recorded 1963


Thanks to Addiobelpassato for posting these tracks.

Internet Archivehttps://archive.org/details/04JosefSukViolinConcertoOp64

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