Josef Suk / Václav Neumann

Concerto for Violin & Orchestra 1 & 2

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Violinist Josef Suk follows in the footsteps of a long, distinguished, musical heritage tracing back to his great-grandfather, Antonin Dvorák, and his grandfather, composer and namesake Josef. The younger Suk maintained a tradition of promoting the works of Czech and Bohemian composers. This Supraphon reissue celebrates Suk's 1973 recordings of the two Martinu violin concertos and the 1987 recording of the Martinu Rhapsody Concerto for viola and orchestra, all with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Václav Neumann. The premiere of the First Concerto, which Martinu did not live to see, was given by Suk with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1973, some 40 years after the work was completed. Suk's playing of the intimately scored First Concerto, as well as the more robustly orchestrated Second Concerto is technically pristine and musically captivating. From the nimble left-hand pyrotechnics in the Second Concerto cadenza to the haunting, eerie introduction to the Rhapsody's second movement, Suk displays an abundance of tone colors and textures. Likewise, the Czech Philharmonic provides a sensitive but robust accompaniment and an ideal balance with Suk. Supraphon's digital editing is superb, offering listeners recordings completely free of any hiss or background noise while maintaining the performers' warm, nuanced sound.

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