Dvorak & Suk: Piano Quartets

Album cover art for upc 099925422721
Label: SUPRAPHON
Catalog: SU4227-2
Format: CD

JOSEF SUK PIANO QUARTET

Works by Antonín Dvorák and Josef Suk – a teacher and his devoted pupil, the father-in-law and his son-in-law – have customarily been performed together at concerts and featured next to each other on recordings. What is more, the two piano concertos on this CD were created within the range of a mere two years. Yet that is all they have in common. Dvorák’s Opus 87 reveals the personal and creative maturity of the 48-year-old composer, who at the time was in the prime of his life. Soon after completing his quartet, the maestro assumed the post of professor of composition at the Prague Conservatory. This decision would prove to be fateful – yet not so much for himself as it would be for the 17-year-old Suk, who was one of the most gifted students of Dvorák’s selected class. A child prodigy, Suk had enrolled at the conservatory at the age of 16, and a few years later he would be travelling around the world as a member of the famed Czech Quartet. He gave his Piano Quartet, which he wrote under Dvorák’s guidance, the symbolical opus number 1. The piece reflects his contemporary auto-stylisation as a passionate, flaring youth, yet its melodic forcibility and tenderness match that of Dvorák’s work. The Josef Suk Piano Quartet (formerly the Ensemble Taras) has manifested its extraordinary qualities at international competitions (victory at the Concorso Salieri-Zinetti in Verona, the ACM Premio Trio di Trieste), as well as on concert stages all over the world. The recording makes it evident that the young musicians have Dvorák and Suk in their blood. The mature Antonín Dvorák vs. the teenage Josef Suk – a duel with two victors.

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