Dvorák: Suite In A; Suk: Serenade, Etc / Hrusa, Et Al

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This second release from young Czech conductor Jakub Hrusa is definitely better than his first one. The Prague Philharmonia is very much a chamber orchestra, and so you won't find the weight that, say, Dorati brings to the American Suite (Decca) or Belohlávek enjoys in the splendidly evocative Fantastic Scherzo (Chandos). But aside from the second movement of the Dvorák, which really needs a sharper attack, there's no lack of energy--and there's plenty of attractive detail (particularly in the wind parts) that often goes unnoticed in performances with larger ensembles. Still, I'm not giving up the power and luxurious color of my big-orchestra versions anytime soon.

Indeed, the Suk Serenade is extremely beautiful as well as unusually lively. Despite its appealing lyricism and melodic charm it's a tough piece to bring off. With its sequence of moderately paced inner movements, monotony is an ever-present threat, even in versions coming from Czech performers. Hrusa characterizes the work quite effectively, with the necessary lightness as well as rhythmic point. The program also has been very intelligently chosen: none of these pieces is that familiar, but all are very beautiful and worth hearing, so this disc may well fill a gap in many Czech music collections. Warm, well-balanced sound completes this recommendable package.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: SU3882-2

  • UPC: 099925388225

  • Label: Supraphon

  • Composer: Antonín Dvořák, Josef Suk

  • Conductor: Jakub Hrusa

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Prague Philharmonia