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Josef Suk: Piano Music. About Mother, Moods, Song of Love

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 15, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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Josef Suk (1874-1935), student and son-in-law of Antonin Dvorák, is one of music's hidden treasures. At the beginning of his career, as in the Six Piano Pieces, he wrote a reasonable facsimile of his teacher's music. The first of these pieces, "Love Song," is the best known of the set, but it's not the only beautiful one. "Moods," even less familiar music, is similarly lovely. By the time he wrote About Mother, Suk had been through the experience that was to transform his life: the early death of his greatly beloved wife, Otilie. (Suk's grief was so great he never remarried.) The tenderness and vivid expressive quality of About Mother makes it one of the most memorable piano works of the entire Romantic era. Fortunately, the Finnish pianist Risto Lauriala is completely in touch with Suk's idiom, playing with the relaxed lyricism and lush tone the music requires. All this music is worthwhile, but hearing About Mother in quiet solitude is the kind of experience recordings were invented for. --Leslie Gerber
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Product Details

  • Performer: Risto Lauriala
  • Composer: Josef Suk
  • Audio CD (January 15, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005U4W3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,595 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By G.D. VINE VOICE on July 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is a very fine release and, one would hope, the first in a series. The op. 7 `Song of Love' is a collection of gentle and reflective pieces, wistfully atmospheric and sensitive interspersed with more passionate, expressive moments and movements (and it opens with a strikingly memorable, lively Humoreske). Lauriala is an excellent advocate, giving us playing full of color and feeling, excellently phrased and shaped and with lots of tenderness.

About Mother is a collection of simple pieces reflecting the life of the son's mother; the music is generally nostalgic and lyrical, with tenderness and sadness (especially `Once in Spring'). Despite its (purported) simplicity, this is rather enchanting music, and again Lauriala's performances are thoroughly commendable. The early Moods are imaginative and inventive as well, proving that Suk at 21 was already an assured craftsman with a personal compositional voice. The different moods and colors are nicely contrasted and subtly and skillfully realized by Lauriala in this set as well. Yes, many of the pieces on this disc have a superficial similarity, but each one of them also has, on closer listening, an individual mark in terms of mood and color. And while there might be few genuine masterpieces here (the Song of Love collection comes closest, especially the opening Humoreske), the music is never less than thoroughly enjoyable. This is, in short, a very worthwhile release, strongly recommended.
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Enjoyed this album very much, very expressive (Risto does a fine job)! The first track alone was worth the purchase...
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