Josef Suk

Biography

Born: August 8, 1929   Died: July 7, 2011   Country: Czech Republic   Period: 20th Century
Czech composer Josef Suk was born on January 4, 1874, in Krecovice, Bohemia, where his father was a choral director. The elder Josef Suk taught his son to play the piano, violin, and organ. In 1885, at the age of 11, Suk entered the Prague Conservatory. By 1888, he had composed a mass, the Krecovická mase; he received his degree in 1891, with what became the Op. 1 piano quartet as his thesis. When Antonín Dvorák became a Read more professor at the Conservatory, Suk stayed an extra year to study with him. Dvorák considered Suk his best student, and the two became personally close. In 1898, Suk married Dvorák's daughter Otilie.

Suk's compositional life may be divided into two periods. His early works are characterized by a late Romantic style that created a general perception of Suk as Dvorák's heir. Compared with Dvorák, Suk wrote little chamber music, but found success with the Four Pieces for violin and piano, Op. 17, written in 1900, and the Fantasy for violin and orchestra, Op. 24, of 1903, as well as with several solo piano works -- the "Song of Love" from the six piano pieces of Op. 7 became a standard recital piece. He wrote few songs and never approached opera, concentrating mainly on orchestral music. In 1892, he wrote the Serenade for Strings, Op. 6, which boosted his career when Brahms promoted it, much as Dvorák himself had benefited from the Viennese giant's support years before. In 1897 and 1898, he composed incidental music for the play Radúz a Mahulena, one of his most popular works and one that had resonances with Suk's own happy marriage. An optimistic mood is especially evident in the piano suites Jaro (Spring) Op. 22 and Letní dojmi Op. 22b, both written in 1902. It was during this time that his son was born.

In 1904, Suk's father-in-law and mentor Dvorák died, and 14 months later, in 1905, his beloved wife Otilie passed away. Their deaths had a devastating impact, and the beginnings of a second phase of Suk's career may be discerned in the works that followed. His compositions became more introspective, complex, and infused with emotion. Completed in 1906, the symphony Asrael, Op. 27, exemplifies this new phase. It is a massive work, considered by many the summit of his achievement. Suk began to experiment with polytonality, notably in his symphonic poem Zrání (Ripening) of 1917. He expanded upon the structure and language of Zrání in his symphony with soloists and chorus Epilog, completed in 1929; these three major orchestral works form a trilogy of vast, almost Mahlerian ambition and scope. Unlike his Czech contemporaries, Suk did not incorporate folk or literary motifs into his compositions. Interestingly, however, his final composition was a Czech dance entitled Sousedská.

Suk made a living largely as a performer and teacher, scheduling composing time around his daily responsibilities. The lack of chamber music in his oeuvre is all the more remarkable in view of his long tenure as second violinist of the Czech Quartet. The quartet's first concert took place in Vienna in 1893, where it received praise from Brahms, and Suk enjoyed international success with the quartet for forty years, remaining a member until he retired in 1933. In 1922 Suk assumed a professorship in composition at the Prague Conservatory, where he tutored such future Czech composers such as Martinu, Jezek, and Borkovec. He was twice appointed head of the Conservatory, serving from 1924 to 1926, and from 1933 until 1935. He died in 1935, at the age of 61. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 69 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Dvorak: Chamber Works, Vol. 2 [7-CD Set]
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4138 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Pavel Sporcl,  Petr Jiríkovsky,  Josef Suk,  Alfred Holecek  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri Trio Prague,  Panocha String Quartet,  Panocha String Quartet members
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  • 2.
    Wolfgang Sawallisch In Prague [5-CD Set]
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4140 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Bohuslav Martinu  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 3.
    Dvorak: Orchestral Works & Concertos
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4123 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Josef Suk
    Performer:  Milos Sádlo,  Ivan Moravec,  Václav Hudecek,  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Bohumil Gregor,  Jakub Hrusa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czech Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Philharmonia  ... 
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  • 4.
    Kalabis: Symphonies, Concertos / Kosler, Neumann, Kalabis, Belohlavek
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4109 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Viktor Kalabis
    Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková,  Petr Skvor,  Miroslav Kejmar,  Josef Suk  ... 
    Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek,  Viktor Kalabis,  Václav Neumann,  Milos Konvalinka  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Chamber Orchestra,  Czech Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Beethoven:   Complete Violin Sonatas No 1-10  / Suk, Panenka
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4077 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Josef Suk,  Jan Panenka
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  • 6.
    Josef Suk - Early Recordings
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4075 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Josef Suk,  Leos Janácek,  Bedrich Smetana  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Suk,  Jan Panenka,  Josef Hála,  André Navarra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Air: Best Of Bach
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82151 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Peter Hurford,  Josef Suk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Richard [Classical Keyboards] Egarr  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir David Willcocks,  Paul Tortelier,  Philip Ledger  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 8.
    The Best Of Beethoven: Ode To Joy
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82152 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Moura Lympany,  Walter Gieseking,  Claudio Arrau,  Josef Suk  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Herbert von Karajan,  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
    CD: $7.99
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  • 9.
    Dvorak: Violin Concerto; Suk: Fantasy, Etc. / Neumann, Suk, Czech Philharmonic
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4047 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Josef Suk
    Performer:  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 10.
    50 Best Violin
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48494 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Luigi Boccherini,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leon Pommers,  Nathan Milstein,  Gidon Kremer  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Lysy,  Herbert von Karajan,  Efrem Kurtz,  Pierre Dervaux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
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  • 11.
    Best Beethoven 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48445 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Morris,  Josef Suk,  Claudio Arrau,  Emil Gilels  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Kurt Sanderling,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Eugen Jochum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble
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  • 12.
    Essential Violin
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07154 Release Date: 02/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jules Massenet,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Gidon Kremer,  Leonid Kogan  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Lysy,  Efrem Kurtz,  Herbert von Karajan,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Virtuosi Italiani
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  • 13.
    Best Of Classics - Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, Vivaldi, Dvorak, Chopin, Mozart
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4013 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák,  Leos Janácek  ... 
    Performer:  Jiri Reinberger,  Jan Kalfus,  Miroslav Kejmar,  Zuzana Ruzicková  ... 
    Conductor:  Bohumil Kulínsky,  Jaroslav Krcek,  Milan Munclinger,  Josef Vlach  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Children's Chorus,  Musica Bohemica,  Ars Rediviva  ... 
    CD: $54.49
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  • 14.
    Music Of Viktor Kalabis
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1350 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Viktor Kalabis
    Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková,  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek,  Zdenek Kosler,  Václav Neumann,  Karel Sejna
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Chamber Soloists,  Vlach String Quartet
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  • 15.
    Brahms: Piano Trio, Cello Sonata / Starker, Katchen, Suk
    Label: London/Decca Chamber Mus Series   Catalog: 425423 Release Date: 06/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  János Starker,  Julius Katchen,  Josef Suk
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  • 16.
    Dvorak: Songs My Great Grandfather Taught Me / Suk, Ashkenazy
    Label: Toccata Classics   Catalog: 100 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Josef Suk
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  • 17.
    Essential Bach
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95424 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Philip Pickett,  Catherine Latham,  Iona Brown,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 18.
    Essential Baroque
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95429 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gerald Finley,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Stephen Cleobury,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Lysy,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Early Music Consort of London  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    Essential Beethoven
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95445 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Morris,  Jeremy Menuhin,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Siegfried Rudolf Frese  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Kurt Sanderling,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    Best Violin 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 58521 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Vittorio Monti,  Fritz Kreisler,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Tasmin Little,  John Lenehan,  Leon Pommers,  Nathan Milstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Felix Slatkin,  Alceo Galliera,  Iain Sutherland,  Leonard Slatkin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante,  Virtuosi,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 21.
    Mozart: Violin Concerto No 2, Sinfonia Concertante / I Brown
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411613 Release Date: 12/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Josef Suk,  Iona Brown
    Conductor:  Iona Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 22.
    Romance - Josef Suk / Neumann, Smetacek, Czech PO, Prague SO
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4000 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johan Svendsen,  Zdenék Fibich  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann,  Václáv Smetácek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Beethoven, Dvorak: Violin Concertos / Suk, Sargent
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4257 Release Date: 06/02/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Dvorák: Miniatures, Bagatelles, Terzetto;  Suk: Piano Quartet / Josef Suk, Et Al
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 3976 Release Date: 03/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Josef Suk
    Performer:  Miroslav Ambros,  Josef Suk,  Karel Untermüller,  Jiri Barta  ... 
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  • 25.
    Martinu: Violin Concertos, Rhapsody / Suk, Neumann, Czech Po
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 3967 Release Date: 03/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu
    Performer:  Josef Suk
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
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