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Hyperion Records

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The Plough Team (detail) by Alfred Weczerzick (1864-1952)
Private Collection / Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55416
Recording details: December 2003
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2004
Total duration: 22 minutes 39 seconds

'Lovely fare, performed with great polish and heartwarming dedication by The Nash Ensemble, and all cleanly captured by the microphones. This disc will surely provide much pleasure' (Gramophone)

'All of the performances on this excellently recorded disc are exemplary' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The Nash Ensemble play these richly rewarding works with style and feeling' (The Independent)

'This is Suk viewed from the 'dark side' and very much more impressive than he usually sounds. Brown balances the introspective sensibility and dramatic onward surge of this music to perfection, and his distinguished colleagues follow him every inch of the way. Enhanced by yet another first-rate Andrew Keener production, this exceptional release comes highly recommended' (International Record Review)

'Dazzlingly violinistic and brilliantly played by Marianne Thorsen and Ian Brown' (The Sunday Times)

'The Nash Ensemble plays with all its customary skill and insight, highlighted by the remarkable pianism of Ian Brown' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Even if the recordings featuring violinist Josef Suk (the composer's grandson) were easier to find, these fresh-sounding, light-textured Nash Ensemble interpretations would hold their own in the catalog. Excellent engineering and informative notes too. A magnificent release' (Fanfare, USA)

Piano Quartet in A minor, Op 1
early 1890s; dedicated to Dvorák

Adagio  [7'58]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Suk’s three-movement Piano Quartet in A minor is his Op 1 and was dedicated, appropriately enough, to his teacher Dvorák. Composed in the early 1890s, it is no surprise that it was taken up by the Prague publisher Urbánek, since it is brimming with character and confidence. The very opening idea of the first movement, which looks forward to that of the Piano Quintet, is both striking and original. Equally effective is the writing for the instruments, particularly in the lead-up to the movement’s secondary material. A wide-ranging and challenging development shows the young Suk to be completely in command of his ideas. Inevitably there are hints of his teacher’s style, but there is much that is entirely characteristic of Suk, including a tendency toward introspection, even in the outwardly confident opening Allegro appassionato. The slow movement, led off by the cello and piano, has a nocturne-like quality; an expressive central section, marked to be played a little quicker, has something of the ardent, fairy-tale atmosphere Suk later brought to his music for the play Radúz and Mahulena. The last movement combines the characteristics of scherzo and finale. A bold, march-like opening idea introduces a number of episodes, some gently yearning in manner, before an ebullient close.

from notes by Jan Smaczny © 2004

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