The music of Josef Bohuslav Foerster -
with RODERIC DUNNETT
'... wonderfully managed by Suk ...'
<< Continued from yesterday
The filler on Supraphon 11 1822-2 011 is a later (1985) Smetacek
recording of an extraordinary 18 minute symphonic poem (a metier Foerster
made his own), Springtime and Desire [listen
-- track 5, 6:56-7:59], which opens with a Tristanesque yearning and
settles into an idiom closer to Novák (Eternal Longing) or
full blown Janácek and Strauss (it dates from l9l5; Foerster, born
in 1859, lived in to his 90s and died in l951).
The affectionate warmth of the string playing Václav Smetacek
adduces from his players in this wonderfully lush, deeply romantic work
is of the highest order. The theme simply refuses to settle, but writhes
and twists into wonderful new keys and harmonies with almost Mahlerian logic
(perhaps not surprisingly : when working as a critic based in Germany, Foerster
was an ardent early champion of Mahler). Springtime and Desire is
a classic of its era, full of Baxian rapture, and a work so lovely and rewarding
that it deserves to be staple diet everywhere.
More recently Supraphon filled a gap with an almost unnoticed double
disc of works for violin and piano, SU 3401-2 132, including a pair
of sonatas, two suites and a brace of impromptus, by the already legendary
Josef Suk (now seventy two). This is a superb disc. The
impressive, many-faceted opening Fantasia, dating from as late as
l925, is permeated by a motif from Eva. The Sonata (l889), published
by Universal Edition, is a substantial work despite a salon exterior, and
a good example of late l9th century music feeling its way towards Impressionism.
In both works (unlike in their more recent Fibich recording, which I find
lacks something), Suk and Hála seem to know exactly where they're
going at every turn. The cavorting scherzo (allegro con brio) is sheer joy.
Copyright © 11 November 2001
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK
CD INFORMATION - SUPRAPHON 11 1822-2 011
PURCHASE SYMPHONY NO 4, 11 1822-2 011 FROM AMAZON
CD INFORMATION - SUPRAPHON SU 3401-2 132
PURCHASE VIOLIN/PIANO DISC, SU 3401-2 132 FROM AMAZON
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