Of the many available versions of Josef Suk's great funeral symphony, this 1990 recording with Libor Pesek with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic offers the finest overall interpretation and performance. It is all here: power, scale, intensity, sensitivity, eloquence.
Vaclav Talich's recording from 1953 is revered, and the praise has been heaped up on other subsequent recordings, but in my opinion, Pesek's reading is even more complete, equally authoritative, and played masterfully by a very engaged Royal Liverpool. While this sprawling, episodic work gets lost in the hands of most interpreters, there is a structural integrity and beginning-to-end cohesiveness to Pesek's reading that remain secure and true. And within this, the account is gripping and full of idiomatic character. The tempos in this performance are ideal, avoiding the gangly abruptness and sudden shifts that mar many other versions. It is an ideal and satisfying reference recording for the Asrael. The sound is excellent.
Rafael Kubelik's recording with the Bavarian Radio is also excellent, if more angular than Pesek's. Talich's 1953 version, of course, is a standard, if dated and surpassed. My personal favorite alternative is Vladimir Valek's dark, imposing, rougher-edged recording with the Prague Radio Symphony. Charles Mackerras' live 2007 with the Czech Philharmonic is a mixed bag. Vaclav Neumann with the CPO is taut, quick, straightforward. Behlolavek/CPO, Claus Peter Flor/Malaysian Philharmonic and Vladimir Ashkenazy/Helsinki each suffer from choppy and/or odd tempos.