Notes and Editorial Reviews
Josef Suk's Asrael Symphony doesn't turn up on many orchestral programs these days, and it's a pity, for as this exciting new live recording from CPO demonstrates, the work makes quite an impact in the concert hall. Kirill Petrenko leads a cohesive, compelling account that highlights the score's virtuosic and colorful orchestral writing, greatly aided by the Berlin Komischen Oper orchestra's skillful and imaginative playing. Petrenko also plays up the music's scenic illustration and dramatic narrative, leading a powerful rendition of the tempestuous first movement even if he doesn't match the Tchaikovskyian (Manfred) hysteria that Libor Pesek generates at the percussion-drenched climax.
The Berlin strings adopt a
seductively silken tone for the insular Andante, while the brightly twirling woodwinds enliven Suk's fantastic, Lisztian scherzo. In the impressionistic Adagio, Petrenko convincingly realizes the music's hazy dream-state, then turns suitably somber for the resigned finale. The recording has wide dynamic range and solid presence, giving a good sense of the concert hall and effectively conveying the energy of the performance. Pesek's no-holds-barred rendition remains the prime choice--but Petrenko's makes an imposing alternative.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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