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Tucapský's moods embrace the witty and urbane, the light-hearted and amiably comic [listen -- track 1, 5:08-5:58], and the deeply lyrical. You feel, however, that it is the slow movements that involve him most deeply. Both of them are rapt, nocturnal meditations, beautifully scored to reveal the colours of both violin and viola [listen -- track 5, 0:01-1:01]. This is not extrovert concerto writing. The solo parts are not notably athletic or confrontational. They stroll thoughtfully and pause to ponder over the themes, making them grow incrementally while never quite maturing into big melodic gestures. In fact, so much is this case that both concertos seem to move informally through sequences of cadenzas. The informality may be a weakness, inclining to forms too free or even to formlessness, but the prodigality of ideas, the beautiful scoring [listen -- track 1, 2:26-3:22], the rhapsodic singing of the slow movements and the holiday spirit of the finales is never less than engaging. Sometimes Tucapský's Czech spirit comes through. Often, however, the music sounds unmistakably English. This, and an occasional ironic detachment reminiscent of Nielsen, make for a distinctively interesting sound.

The recording of the Viola Concerto was made at a live performance, so it has a special authenticity about it, but the bass seems a little shy and the upper orchestral strings sound beautiful but waifish. This blemish apart, the recordings are good.

Copyright © 3 April 2002 Peter Dale, Danbury, Essex, UK



Antonín Tucapský: Violin & Viola Concertos

SOMMCD 221 DDD Stereo 56'34" 2001 Somm Recordings

Víteszlav Kuzník, violin, Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra/Petr Vronský; Pavel Perina, viola, Prague Symphony Orchestra/Elli Jaffe




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