Josef Suk

Josef Suk (1874-1935)

Nationality: Czech
Born: January 4, 1874, Křečovice Died: May 29, 1935, Benešov (age 61)

String Quartet No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 11

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
8:33 I. Allegro moderato
3:56 II. Intermezzo. Tempo di marcia
8:50 III. Adagio, ma non troppo
5:47 IV. Allegro giocoso
Duration: 28 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1896 (age 21-22)
3 recordings, 12 videos
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8:26
Panocha Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
3:51
Panocha Quartet
II. Intermezzo. Tempo di marcia
8:18
Panocha Quartet
III. Adagio, ma non troppo
5:04
Panocha Quartet
IV. Allegro giocoso
8:33
Suk Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
4:04
Suk Quartet
II. Intermezzo. Tempo di marcia
8:49
Suk Quartet
III. Adagio, ma non troppo
5:12
Suk Quartet
IV. Allegro giocoso
8:39
Bohemian Quartet
I. Allegro moderato
3:53
Bohemian Quartet
II. Intermezzo. Tempo di marcia
9:23
Bohemian Quartet
III. Adagio, ma non troppo
7:05
Bohemian Quartet
IV. Allegro giocoso
From Edition Silvertrust

Josef Suk Josef Suk (1874-1935) was born in Krecovice in southern Bohemia, then part of Austria. He studied piano, violin and organ with his father who served as village choirmaster. His exceptional talent led to his being enrolled at the Prague Conservatory in 1885 at the age of 11 where he first studied violin. Eventually, he became a composition student of Antonín Dvořák. He graduated in 1891, and kept up a friendship with Dvořák, whose daughter he married in 1898.

He formed what became the world famous Bohemian Quartet with three of his fellow students. Suk played second violin with the Quartet for most of his life. From 1922, he taught at the Prague Conservatory. Among his many students were the composer Bohuslav Martinů and the pianist Rudolf Firkusny. Suk served as the Conservatory's director after 1924, on and off, until the end of his life.

Suk's early works show the influence of Dvořák, and to a lesser extent, Brahms, but are nonetheless highly original in conception. His First String Quartet dates from 1896 and while one hears echoes of Dvořák in the opening Allegro moderato, structurally, the working out of the themes in very unconventional and the use of the instruments to create polyphonic effects is well beyond Dvořák's own writing. The energetic second movement, Tempo di Marcia, is both Czech and original sounding. Little of Dvořák can be found here although in the lovely Adagio non troppo, at times, we hear the intimacy and highly charged personal musical language of Suk's teacher. But in the bright and clever finale, Allegro giocoso, the makings of the modern Czech school can clearly be heard.

This is a first rate string quartet which deserves to be heard in concert and is highly recommended to professionals looking for a post-Dvořák work with some Czech modernism in it. Competent amateurs will also get much enjoyment from this music.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related Composers

1900 WWI WWII Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859-1951) Karel Stecker (1861-1918) Josef Suk (1874-1935) Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859-1951)
Teacher
Nationality: Czech | Bohemian
Born: December 30, 1859, Prague Died: May 29, 1951, Vestec (age 91)
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
teacher, father-in-law
Nationality: Czech
Born: September 8, 1841, Nelahozeves, Bohema Died: May 1, 1904, Prague (age 62)
Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
Student
Nationality: Czech | Bohemian
Born: December 8, 1890, Polička, Bohemia Died: August 28, 1959, Liestal, Switzerland (age 68)
Karel Stecker (1861-1918)
Teacher
Nationality: Czech
Born: January 22, 1861, Kosmonosy Died: March 13, 1918, Mladá Boleslav (age 57)