Josef Suk

Dvorák: Sonatina; Janácek, Brahms, Beethoven: Sonatas

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When the roll of great Czech violinists and pianists is called, surely Josef Suk's and Rudolf Firkusny's names will be among that number. All by itself, this recording of a concert given at the Dvorák Hall in Prague on May 18, 1978, could be their ticket to the pantheon. Coupling the two central works of the Czech repertoire with two wonderful works from the Austrian repertoire, Suk and Firkusny perform as absolute equals engaged in the most serious and the most joyful of aesthetic enterprises. Together they perform Dvorák's sonatina with irrepressible enthusiasm and Janácek's sonata with irresistible intensity, Brahms' D minor Sonata with ineluctable energy, and Beethoven's G major Sonata with inexpressible serenity. Suk's light but strong technique and warm-hearted tone is ideally balanced by Firkusny's agile but muscular technique and full-bodied tone. But better yet is the balance of their interpretive personalities. Suk most often takes the lead, but Firkusny as often modifies Suk's lead, holding him back sometimes, pushing him other times, always challenging him but at the same time always supporting him. Anyone who loves great violin playing, great piano playing, and great ensemble playing will enjoy this disc. Supraphon's sound is astoundingly lifelike and real.

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