SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

JOSEF SUK: A Summer’s Tale; Prague – BBC Sym. Orch./ Jiri Belohlavek – Chandos

Two colorful Czech symphonic poems in hi-res surround.

Published on December 7, 2012

JOSEF SUK: A Summer’s Tale; Prague – BBC Symphony Orch./ Jiri Belohlavek – Chandos multichannel SACD CHSA 5109, 79:32 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

These two symphonic poems for large orchestra are from the same performers who brought us the composer’s Ripening and First Symphony.  Suk completed three symphonic poems after he wrote his great Asrael Symphony, of which A Summer’s Tale was one, and it is often paired on recordings with the less interesting A Winter’e Tale. An expansive, very Romantic work which may remind one of Dvorak’s symphonic poems, A Summer’s Tale runs a lengthy 55 minutes, and was written after the death of both his father-in-law Dvorak and his wife Otilka. While it deals with the results of those losses, it has some magical qualities and is moving without being totally down.

Prague is a sort of evocation of this ancient and important Czech city, including some of its illustrious history. Composed in 1904, it opens with its own depiction of the Vltava river flowing thru the city, contrasting with that of Smetana’s The Moldau (its German name). The struggles and troubles of the city are treated in this 25-minute atmospheric work, which ends with a strongly triumphant tone. The 5.0 hi-res surround supports these colorful orchestra works well, and the dynamic range is tremendous.

—John Sunier




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