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Josef Suk (1874-1935) was a member of one of Europe's most distinguished musical dynasties and the son in law of Antonin Dvorák. (That dynasty is alive and well today through the work of the brilliant Czech violin virtuoso Josef Suk.) Suk is best known for his colorful orchestral works and his visionary, quasi Mahlerian Asrael Symphony. His Meditation on the Old Czech Choral St Wenceslas is a raptly intense score of great simplicity and overwhelming power. A favorite of the great Czech conductor Rafael Kubelik, St Wenceslas prefigures late twentieth century minimalism with its repetitive chorale theme and luminous string figurations. The gorgeous string playing and Brooks Bruzzese's fervent conducting produced a searing musical experience!

Four members of the orchestra's violin section (led by concertmasters Laszlo Pap and Lenka Hajkova) gave a brilliant traversal of the Concerto No 10 in B minor from Vivaldi's L'Estro Armonico, RV580. The outer Allegro movements were anchored by particularly virtuosic string playing. The Vivaldi work and Arcangelo Corelli's Concerto Grosso in D minor Op 6 No 4 were marked by expert continuo work by cellist and Czech Moravian orchestra founder Milan Kraus and harpsichordist Renee LaBonte, executive director of Ft Lauderdale's Symphony of the Americas. Ms LaBonte's harpsichord work was particularly distinguished for its rhythmic flexibility and improvisatory flair. The Corelli work was played with a wonderful sense of Baroque style. The first chair strings (violinists Pap and Hajkova, cellist Kraus, and violist Dimitrij Kopcak) played with precision and vigor.

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Copyright © 21 August 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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