Josef Suk, R.I.P.

Violinist Josef Suk died earlier this month. A year ago I had never heard of him, but in the last few months he has become a daily presence in my life. In fact, I featured him on this blog: he’s the performer of those Five Madrigal Stanzas that I am still crazy about. The original recording of the Stanzas, which also has two violin sonatas by the same composer, is one that I listen to just about every day. Oh it is splendid!

As a matter of fact, though, my daughter still has not gotten around to learning the Martinů. However, we’ve got another Czech composer in the pipeline, Antonín Dvořák. The piece that I mentioned yesterday, where she is being required to make “artistic decisions”? It is the first movement of Dvořák’s Sonatina for violin and piano, Op. 100.

Now, about this sonatina: when my daughter and I listened to it together for the first time, her reaction was somewhat noncomittal. Ok, sure, whatever, I’ll learn it. “You know,” I said to her, “Dvořák wrote this piece for his own son and daughter, who played piano and violin. They were about your age when he wrote it.” Elle was silent for a moment, and then said, “Wow! It’s a whole different piece now!”

The recording we had listened to, by coincidence, was the video below, starring none other than Josef Suk. Who, it turns out, was the great-grandson of Dvořák. That teenage daughter who played the violin, Miss Ottilie Dvořák? She grew up, married a composer also named Josef Suk, and the end result was this:

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  1. Beautiful piece!

  2. Welcome back. Absolutely beautiful piece … are you ready to continue my music education? :)


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