This page lists all recordings of A Summer's Tale, Op. 29, by Josef Suk (1874-1935) on CD, SACD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.
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Josef Suk: Orchestral Works
Two symphonic poems by Suk are performed here by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek, who also brought us the highly acclaimed recording of the composer’s First Symphony and Ripening, which was Disc of the Month in the magazine BBC Music.
A Summer’s Tale is a highly personal work, rich and imaginative, not to mention brilliantly orchestrated in late romantic style. The work followed the heartfelt and sorrowful outpouring of the Asrael Symphony of 1905 – 06, composed in memory of his father-in-law, Antonín Dvořák, and wife, Otilka.
In the words of the composer: ‘After wild fleeing I find consolation in nature’. The jubilation of the opening ‘Voices of Life and Consolation’ is thought to emphasise nature’s healing powers and the composer’s putting a positive face to the world after the bleakness of Asrael. ‘Midday’ depicts the all-embracing heat of noon, while the Intermezzo, ‘Blind Musicians’, expresses compassion for those who can never appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. The storm and wild longing of ‘In the Power of Phantoms’ give way finally to the mystical calm of ‘Night’.
The Symphonic Poem Prague is likewise strongly personal and atmospheric, speaking of the history and mystery of Suk’s home city, its troubles and its triumphs. The opening section conjures up a picture of the early morning mists rising from the Vltava, the river flowing through the city. The mists begin to lift and the ancient fortress of Vyšehrad emerges high above on its rock. Gradually the mists disperse and Prague appears in all its glory in the sunlight. The mood then darkens, now speaking of past troubled times; but the work ends on a jubilant note, in a triumphant blaze of glory.
“Belohlavek's pacing enhances Suk's abundant inspiration, often with intoxicating results. Throughout, the BBC Symphony Orchestra responds magnificently as an ensemble, bringing an almost operatic excitement to Prague...Both performances stand very high measured against the exacting tradition of some great Czech performances and are well served by this excellent recording.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2012 *****
“The orchestral sound may not be distinctively Czech, but the vibrant playing is full of character and brings the work ['Prague'] alive brilliantly...They bring the same dedication to A Summer's Tale...Bělohlávek and the BBC SO make a powerful and impassioned case for this intense work, one that deserves to be much wider known.” bbc.co.uk, 11th September 2012
“Excellent performances: Belohlávek has done wonders to acquaint us with the lesser-known Czech repertoire.” Financial Times, 15th September 2012 ****
“the Czech woodwinds are inimitably individual...Belohlavek holds the tension in both pieces from the first bar to the last. Wonderful.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2012
“in this superb performance, it is the introspective passages [of 'Prague'] that impress and move.” Sunday Times, 14th October 2012
“The language is highly wrought – late-romantic, with just occasional hints that Suk may have been aware of the musical world that Debussy had revealed – and Suk's models were presumably were Dvor˘ák's late symphonic poems. But Suk's efforts lack the conciseness and the dramatic instincts of his mentor's.” The Guardian, 29th August 2012 ***
BBC Music Magazine
Disc of the month - October 2012
(also available to download from $10.50)
In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.
Suk - A Summer's Tale
Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin, Kirill Petrenko
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.
Libor Pesek: The Gold Collection
To mark Libor Pešek’s eightieth birthday, Supraphon presents a representative selection of large orchestral recordings he made from 1981 to 1989. Compositions by Josef Suk, who has occupied a privileged position in Pešek’s career, are featured alongside paramount Impressionist pieces – Debussy’s La mer and Ravel’s Suites from the ballet Daphnis et Chloé. Pešek’s recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 and Suk’s lesser-known suite Under the Apple Tree are being released on CD for the very first time.
The album also includes recordings of two concertos – Elgar’s Cello Concerto, with Michaela Fukačová, and Scriabin’s Piano Concerto, with Garrick Ohlsson. Within the illustrious career of Libor Pešek, a great and groundbreaking figure among Czech conductors, the period documented on this CD represents one of his peaks, the time of his most intensive collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, preceding his assuming the post of music director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. These digitally remastered recordings bear witness to Pešek’s remarkably nuanced work with the orchestral sound and sense for the great lines of Romantic orchestral scores. A living portrait of a major Czech conductor.
Scheduled for release on 3 June 2013. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.