Czech Music of the 20th Century: Janacek, Martinu & Kalabis / Vlach, Suk Chamber Orchestra
The Suk Chamber Orchestra have been in existence for over forty years and have an admirable list of recordings focussed mainly of Czech repertoire, from the classical to the modern period. This recording is quite old, 1988, and is possibly a reissue, but there is no statement to that effect in the cover or booklet notes. It was obviously made with a minimal number of microphones because it sounds very clean and realistic. I would go so far as to say it sounds outstandingly good. The playing is very fine indeed, as it should be from the famously productive home of so many top string players including the eponymous Josef Suk. To clarify, the violinist who died in 2011 was the first director, and his grandfather, who died in 1935, a composer and also a violinist, was the source of the orchestra's name. The pedigree doesn't stop there for the elder Suk was also the son-in-law and a pupil of the great Antonín Dvorák.
The documentation has several shortcomings, though none that should put purchasers off buying. The orchestral listing includes players who are clearly not playing this program; not many harpsichord, horn and oboe players are needed in string pieces for example. No mention is made of the fact that this is the arrangement for string orchestra of the Martinu Serenata and the note assumes solo instruments; the death of Kalabis in 2006 is overlooked in the notes on the Diptych and as mentioned at the start, the music is not all 20th Century despite the title. MDG should be a lot more careful when editing accompanying material. Nonetheless, I recommend the CD very strongly as a great 57 minutes of musical pleasure.
– MusicWeb International (Dave Billinge)
Catalog Number: 6010317-2
Composer: Bohuslav Martinů, Leoš Janáček, Viktor Kalabis
Conductor: Josef Vlach
Performer: Ivo Laniar, Jiri Rajnis, Ludmila Forbelská, Miroslav Kosina