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Varied moods

Risto Lauriala plays the
piano music of Josef Suk -
considered by

'... a fine account of the music ...'

Suk Piano Music. © 2001 HNH International Ltd


Nothing is more characteristic of Czech music than the 'dumka', which Dvorák made particularly his own, notably in his Op 90 Piano Trio, which strings six of them together. A 'dumka' starts in the dumps or at least thoughtfully, because it is a diminutive of the word 'duma', and Russian parliaments, whenever they exist, are essentially thinking shops or talking shops rather than action shops, and they usually end in tears. There is only one official 'dumka' in this set of Suk piano pieces, but it is a characteristic example, beginning in woe minor and abundantly cheerful in its middle section. This is the opening [listen -- track 5, 0:00-1:09]. The piece is No 5 of Suk's Op 7, half a dozen miniatures all written before he was twenty and about the time Brahms was producing his late keyboard works. It must be said that the Brahmsian influence is more apparent than anything from Czech folk music, though the No 2 Humoreske borrows another characteristic Dvorák title for a movement to enliven any drawing room [listen -- track 2, 0:00-1:02]. By Op 10 Suk was twenty one. The five 'mood' pieces begin with a 'Legend' that again pays tribute to the dumka, but Suk is now more adventurous harmonically and has clearly pricked up a listening ear beyond the Rhine. There are piquant subtleties in the No 2 Capriccio [listen -- track 13, 0:00-1:04].

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Copyright © 17 April 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK




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