Thursday, July 07, 2011

Josef Suk dies at 81

Very sad to hear of the death of Josef Suk, the great Czech violinist who was the grandson of Josef Suk the composer and the great-grandson of Antonin Dvorak. He returned to the recording studio after his supposed retirement to record music by certain family members - discs which are among the most treasured in my not-insubstantial collection. His sound was filled with personality and his feel for his native Czech music not only flowed in the blood but could almost convince you, listening, that you knew the steps to the folkdances when you didn't. He was the violinist of the Suk Trio in the 1950s and from 1992 to 2000 was manager and conductor of the Suk Chamber Orchestra. His recordings won numerous awards. More here from Ceske Noviny (Czech News).

It was one of my little dreams to go to Prague and bring him here to play Dvorak at the Royal Festival Hall, but that must now remain a dream.

UPDATE: Suk's obituary from The Telegraph.

Here he is playing extracts from the Four Pieces Op.17 by his grandfather, with pianist Jan Panenka, recorded for Supraphon in 1954