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Symphonic Music - Released September 4, 2012 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released April 26, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released September 28, 2010 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released June 19, 2020 | Ars Produktion

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Classical - Released February 9, 2018 | SWR Classic

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
It should go without saying that the keystone of this record is the monumental Asraël, the masterpiece of a sadly little-known composer, Josef Suk. In reality, Suk was the "fifth man" of the great Czech circuit, alongside Smetana, Dvořák (his step-father, incidentally), Martinů and Janáček, but this side of the Vltava, he remains rather obscure. Asraël dates from 1904 to 1906, a tragic period in the life of the composer: he lost his step-father, and then his beloved young wife. The three first movements are dedicated, posthumously, to the former, and the final two movements to the latter. The listener will wait in vain for respite in this sublime, agonised, funereal, apocalyptic, desperate work, where tonality breaks out towards the first glimmerings of what Janáček will develop rather later; only in the final minutes do we hear a peaceful choral section, in a changeover of harmonies that moves from a deep growl to a celestial sharpness, which rather recalls the end of Also sprach Zarathustra by Strauss. Azraël, the reader will recall, is the angel of death in certain Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions. Here, the great Karel Ančerl leads a manifestly transformed Südwestfunk Orchestra of Baden-Baden. To complement the programme, one may also see another Czech composer, Iša Krejčí (1904-1968), a neoclassicist, whose career as a conductor was surely somewhat overshadowed by his work as a composer. His Serenata from 1950 rather recalls shades of Jean Françaix (and other French composers of the same ilk, like, Ibert or Sauguet): a subtle, spiritual discourse, with sharp orchestral and harmonic writing. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 5, 2017 | Oehms Classics

Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Ondine

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Along with the increasing frequency that Josef Suk's Symphony in C minor, Op. 27, "Asrael," is performed and recorded, it's great to see it has finally been released as a hybrid SACD. Though the legendary 1952 recording by Vaclav Talich remains the ne plus ultra for devotees of this searing symphonic requiem, it was recorded in mono, and by virtue of its technology has become a historical document that will be sought out mostly by aficionados. Newcomers to Suk's towering work will be aided in appreciation by the fact that Ondine's DSD recording is as clear and deep as always, and none of the details of the elaborate score are lost. Whether Vladimir Ashkenazy's 2008 interpretation seems as hard-earned and profound as Talich's is another matter, for the two conductors' approaches are different: Talich was steeped in the Czech tradition, while Ashkenazy has always been more cosmopolitan in outlook, so there are clear differences in phrasing, rhythmic emphasis, orchestral sonority, as well as nuances of expression. Yet Ashkenazy's performance with the brilliant Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is just as potent and passionate: from the catastrophic climax of the first movement through the tragic beauty of the two slow movements and the sardonic Scherzo, to the beatific closing of the Finale, this "Asrael" is quite compelling and convincing, and it is a worthy successor to the acclaimed rendition by Talich and the lesser versions of other Czech contenders. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released January 28, 2011 | Supraphon a.s.

Booklet
Since Josef Suk's Symphony in C minor, "Asrael," is being recorded more frequently, admirers of this dark post-Romantic masterpiece will find they have more first-rate versions to recommend than just the long-revered 1952 performance by Vaclav Talich and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Charles Mackerras performed the symphony in 2007 with the CPO, and his impassioned account is among the finest available on CD, thanks to the conductor's profound sympathy with Czech music and his musicians' exceptional playing. This work is a symphonic requiem, composed in the aftermath of the deaths of Suk's father-in-law, Antonin Dvorák, and of his young wife, Otilie; the association with Azrael, the Jewish and Islamic Angel of Death, brings home the themes of grief, pain, and consolation. In power and size, Suk's music approaches the impact and scale of the Mahlerian symphony, and at an hour in duration, it is an emotionally draining experience to follow the symphony's arc from tragedy to transfiguration. Yet despite the shattering force of "Asrael," especially in the devastating climax of the opening movement, there are many passages of transcendant loveliness in the score, and the close of the Finale is luminous. Mackerras and the orchestra are superbly recorded by Supraphon, and the wide dynamic range of the live performance is captured, from the softest pizzicato to the most forceful tutti. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 4, 2012 | Fidelio Musique

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Classical - Released September 1, 2013 | Chandos

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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO

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Symphonic Music - Released June 1, 1992 | Chandos

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Classical - Released August 8, 2005 | Supraphon a.s.

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Classical - Released March 1, 2011 | Naxos

Booklet
Coming at the end of the Romantic era, Josef Suk was deeply influenced by the major composers of his day, particularly Johannes Brahms and Antonin Dvorák (who was his father-in-law), and later on by his contemporaries, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. Because these influences meshed with Suk's own profound feeling for Czech themes and a melancholy streak in his makeup, his post-Romantic music looks backward toward a lost past, rather than forward to a confrontation with modernism. The Fantasy in G minor, which amounts to a free-form violin concerto in a single movement, is firmly rooted in the tradition of Dvorák, and the brilliant violin solo is played with sparkling bravado by Michael Ludwig. The four-movement Fairy Tale, which began its life as incidental music for the play Radúz a Mahulena by Julius Zeyer, is rich with folk feeling and offers some lush orchestration that plainly owes a debt to Strauss. The Fantastické Scherzo, close in its genesis to the Fantasy, is a mercurial piece that seems to be a blending of the symphonic scherzo with more explicitly Bohemian dance music. It is clearly a descendant of the Slavonic Dances, and reinforces the close personal connection between Suk and Dvorák. These 2010 performances by JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra are lively and vibrantly colorful, and Naxos' clear and focused reproduction leaves nothing to the imagination. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 15, 2007 | CRD Records

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Symphonic Music - Released May 30, 2017 | Český rozhlas

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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca Music Group Ltd.