Seasons Archive

SUK: Piano Music – Jonathan Plowright, piano – Hyperion 

SUK: Piano Music – Jonathan Plowright, piano – Hyperion 

The neo-Romantic piano music of Josef Suk has an ardent acolyte in Jonathan Plowright. SUK: Spring – Suite, Op. 22a; Summer Impressions, Op. 22b; Piano Pieces, Op. 7; Moods, Op. 10 – Jonathan Plowright, piano – Hyperion CDA68198, 76:38 (6/29/18) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi/PIAS] ****: Like most auditors of Czech music after Smetana and Dvorak, I found the music of Josef Suk (1874-1935) via his lovely Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 6, courtesy of a performance at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre by a Taiwanese, youth chamber ensemble under the direction of Helen Quach, a pupil of Nikolai Malko. His keyboard music has until now remained obscure in my experience; but Jonathan Plowright (rec. 6-8 September 2017) of the Royal Academy of Music makes Suk’s essentially lyric, salon style thoroughly accessible in this recording. We begin with the collection of six Pieces, Op. 7, composed 1891-93 and published in 1894. Given their overtly romantic, even courtly, character, they depict emotionally the composer’s affection for Antonin Dvorak’s daughter Otilka, whom Suk married in 1898. The opening Love Song declares itself passionately, the manner more resonant than that of Schumann, more sultry in character than the brief pieces of late Brahms. The […]