Jakub Hrusa

Dvorak: Suite in A; Suk: Serenade; Scherzo Fantastique

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If this were an LP, only the second side would get played. With a delightfully sensuous and charmingly seductive performance of Suk's lovely Serenade for String Orchestra and a riotously funny and robustly rhythmic performance of Suk's virtuostic Scherzo fantastique, what would have been side two of Jakub Hrüsa and the Prague Philharmonic's recording would have been a favorite at home and on classical radio stations. But LPs are even deader than classical radio stations, and in the digital era, audiophiles may simply wind up skipping the first five tracks of this compact disc after the first listening. Why? Because as superbly played and deeply sympathetic as Hrüsa and the Prague Philharmonic's Suk is, their performance of Dvorák's "American" Suite, Op. 98, is oddly nowhere near as in tune, as tight, or as sympathetic. In not especially difficult music, the Czech players sound frayed at the edges, and worse yet, their tone is wobbly. On top of that, Hrüsa, a young and very talented conductor, sounds distinctly uncomfortable with and even unconvinced by Dvorák's homely music. Still, for the heart-melting intensity of their Suk, this recording is well worth hearing, even if you do wind up skipping the first side. Supraphon's sound is clear, deep, warm, and true.

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